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M.A., LL.D., B.SC. 

Writlj |Unatratilj£ Bratoings 





Aristotle's researches in Natural Science are set forth 
in a series of his works, some of which have ah'eady received 
a great deal of attention, while the rest have been much 
neglected. Translations, with or without explanatory notes, 
of all these works have been produced in English, French, 
German, or Latin, and separate treatises or papers discuss- 
ing Aristotle's researches in one or more branches of Natural 
Science have been published from time to time. Among 
such treatises and papers may be mentioned J. Miiller's 
tlbe)' den glatten Hai des Aristoteles, dx., Berlin, 1842, 
a folio volume with six plates, relating, in part, to the 
placental cartilaginous fishes of Aristotle; J. B. Meyer's 
Aristoteles Thierkimde, Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der 
Zoologie, Physiologie, und alien Philosophie, Berlin, 1855 ; 
H. Aubert's Die Cephalopodeu des Aristoteles, dc, Lepzig, 
1862, 39 pp. ; C. J. Sundevall's Die Tliierarten des Aristo- 
teles von den Klassen der Sciugethiere, Vogel, Beptilien 
und Insehten, Stockholm, 1863; G. H. Lewes' Aristotle : A 
Chapter from the History of Science, London, 1864 ; and 
Dr. J. Young's paper " On the Malacostraca of Aristotle," 
published in The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 
1865. There are also several works and papers which inci- 
dentally give valuable assistance in the study of Aristotle's 
researches in Natural Science, e.g. Cuvier and Valenciennes' 
Histoire Naturelle des Poissons, Paris, 1828-49 ; J. L. 
Ideler's Meteorologia veterum GrcBcorimi et Bomanorum, 
Berlin, 1832 ; Spratt and Forbes' Travels in Lycia, dc, 
London, 1847 ; Hoffman and Jordan's " Catalogue of the 
Fishes of Greece, with Notes on the Names now in Use, 
and those Employed by Classical Authors," published in the 
Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences of Philadelphia, 
for 1892; D'A. W, Thompson's Glossary of Greek Birds, 
Oxford, 1895 ; and T. Gill's " Parental Care among Fresh- 
water Fishes," published in the Annual Beport of the 
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 1906. 


A consideration of these and many other similar publica- 
tions seems to show that a single work, re-examining 
Aristotle's statements, as far as possible by first-hand 
investigations, and utilizing the results attained by the 
above-mentioned and other scholars, would fill a gap in 
Aristotelian literature. The present work is intended to 
do this, and represents the nature and value of Aristotle's 
researches in subjects now considered to belong to physical 
astronomy, meteorology, physical geography, physics, 
chemistry, geology, botany, anatomy, physiology, embryo- 
logy, and zoology. In those parts of the work relating 
to his anatomical, embryological, and zoological researches, 
I have tested his statements, whenever possible, by means 
of actual dissections of the parts of, and observations on, 
the animals to which he seems to refer. 

Throughout this work full references are given to all 
passages from ancient and modern writers cited. It is 
hoped that these references will be sufficient to enable the 
reader to form his own estimate of the statements made or 
opinions expressed in the com'se of the work. 

As the various Greek texts present differences in method 
of division as well as in reading, it is necessary to state that 
the numerous references to Aristotle's works are to the 
following Greek texts : — Schneider's edition of the History 
of Animals, Aubert and Wimmer's edition of the Genera- 
tion of Animals, the Teubnerian editions of the Parts of 
Animals, Parva Natiiralia, De Anima, De Coelo, and De 
Generatione et Corruptione, and, with very few exceptions, 
Didot's editions of the remaining works. The references 
to Aristotelian treatises, e.g. the De Plantis, not usually 
considered to have been written by Aristotle, are to Didot's 

The abbreviations H.A., P. A., and G.A., have been used 
frequently to denote Aristotle's History of Animals, Parts 
of Animals, and Geyieratioii of Animals, respectively. 

It should be understood that the identifications of 
animals, attempted in various parts of the work, are not 
necessarily complete, e.g. Apous or Kypsellos (see p. 245) 
probably included other birds besides the swift and house- 
martin, and Tigris (see p. 257) included other wild animals 
besides the tiger of western India. This is evident from 
passages in Arrian's Historia Indica, c. 15, ss. 1 and 3, 
which read: " Nearchus says that he has seen a tiger's 
skin, but not a real tiger. , . . and that every one of the 


animals which we see and call ' tigers ' are jackals, 
speckled and larger than common jackals." 

Except in a few cases, e.g. that of the Hippelaphos, 
pp. 253-4, no attempt has been made to consider the 
possibility of identifying Aristotle's animals with those 
which may reasonably be assumed to have been unknown 
to the Ancients. 

A few words about the illustrative drawings may not 
be out of place. Of these. Fig. 3 is of a different kind from 
the rest. It is drawn according to specific directions given 
in Aristotle's Meteorology, and probably agrees with a 
drawing forming part of Aristotle's original MS. There 
are no drawings in the Greek texts, but in many passages 
there are clear references to drawings. 

My thanks are due to Mr. A. E. Wright, Hon. Editor of 
Folk-Lore, for reading the MS. and proof, and for informa- 
tion chiefly relating to popular beliefs recorded by Aristotle; 
to Mr. F. W. Dunn, B.A., B.Sc, for reading a large part of 
the MS. ; to Mr. F. J. Cheshire, Lecturer in Physics at 
Birkbeck College, and Mr. E. J. Sowter, B.Sc, for reading 
all parts of the MS. and proof of Chapters iii. and iv. 
relating to phenomena of light, heat, and sound ; to Mr. 
F. Gossling, B.Sc, for reading the proof of Chapters v. and 
vi. ; and to my son, Mr. P. E. Lones, for reading those 
parts of the MS. and proof of Chapters viii.-xiv., relating 
to human anatomy and physiology. 

T. E. L. 

Dudley House, 
Kings Langley, 



I. — Introductoey 1 

^I. — Aristotle's Method of Investigating 

THE Natural Sciences - - - 21 

III. — Celestial, Atmospheric, and Terres- 
trial Phenomena . . . . 28 

IV. — Phenomena op Light and Colour, Heat 

AND Sound 61 


V. — Distinction between Animals, Plants, 

AND Inanimate Matter - - - 79 

- VI. — Constituents op Animals, Plants, and 

Inanimate Matter . . . . 88 

VII.— On Plants 95 

VIII. — The Probable Nature and Extent op 

Aristotle's Dissections - . . 102 

IX. — Aristotle's Homceomeria - _ . 107 

X. — Aristotle's Anhomceomeria and their 

Functions 118 

XL — Aristotle's Anhomceomeria and their 

Functions (continued) - - . - 148 

XII. — Aristotle's Anhomceomeria and their 

Functions {continued) - - - - 173 



XIII, — Animal Motion - - - - - 188 

XIV. — Generation and Development - - 195 

XV. — Classification of Animals _ - . 208 

XVI. — Aristotle's Anaima, or Animals with- 
out Blood 216 

XVII. — Aristotle's Enaima, or Animals with 

Blood 229 

XVIII. — Aristotle's Enaima, or Animals with 

Blood (continued) . . . . 250 


Fig. 1. — Appearance op Eainbows, as seen at Athens. 

2. — Arrangement of the Colours of Eainbows, accord- 
ing to Aristotle. 

3. — Aristotle's Compass. 

4. — Gradation from Inanimate Matter through Lower 
TO Higher Forms of Life. 

5. — Aristotle's Elements and their Eelations. 
6. — Left Astragalus of a Sheep. 
7. — Bones from the Heart of a Three-year Old Ox. 
8. — Heart and Blood-vessels, according to Aristotle. 
9. — Egg opened after eight days' Incubation. 
10. — Chick removed from Egg after ten days' Incuba- 


Among all the works which have come 

"^^^Sue's °^ ^^^^^ ^° ^s ^^'°^ ^^^ Ancients, few have 
Works. exercised a greater influence on the human 

mind than those of Aristotle. The nature 
and extent of this influence have varied greatly during the 
past two thousand years, but ardent students of the Aristo- 
telian treatises have at all times been found at most of the 
great seats of learning, and Alexandria, Cordova, Paris, 
Oxford, Padua, Pisa, and Cologne have been specially dis- 
tinguished for their Aristotelian studies. 

From the very first Aristotle's teaching and writings 
engaged the attention of scholars, and his method of reason- 
ing and peculiar style of writing were imitated by many of 
them. At a later time his writings were used as authori- 
tative sources of information by many Greek and Latin 
authors, and among the many Arabs who studied his 
writings and did much to preserve them and extend their 
influence, Avicenna and Averroes may be specially men- 
tioned. After the time of Averroes (1126-1198), Aristotle 
was followed with implicit confidence until the time of the 

Before the time of Averroes, however, some of the 
Aristotelian treatises were read, mainly in consequence of 
the work of Boethius, and the Church encouraged the 
study of such as were useful for training the reasoning 
powers. The adoption of Aristotle's methods of reasoning 
was followed by the adoption, in part at least, of his system 
of philosophy, and the resulting alliance, if it may be so 
called, between the Church and Aristotelianism became so 
close that an attack on one was considered to be an attack 
on the other. 

During the early part of the fourteenth century the 
influence of Aristotle's works appears to have reached its 
greatest development. That this influence was consider- 



able, Dante's writings clearly prove. It is Aristotle to 
whom he refers when he says : 

" Then when a little more I raised my brow, 
I saw the master of the sapient throng, 
Seated amid the philosophic train. 
Him all admire, all pay him reverence due."* 

He also says that Aristotle is most worthy of trust and 
obedience, for, just as a sword-cutler, bridle-maker, or 
armourer should obey the knight whose implements he 
makes, so should we obey and trust Aristotle, who teaches 
us the end of human life.! 

Not long after Dante's time there commenced a great 
change of attitude towards Aristotelianism, and not only 
Vv^ere the Aristotelian writings criticized adversely, but 
Aristotle's fame, and, above all, his attempts to arrive at 
the truth, were called in question. After the Revival of 
Learning this antagonism became very strong. Aristotle 
and his philosophy, as well as the Church, were attacked by 
the Eeformers, and then by Bamus, Patrizi, and Galileo. 
In Luther's writings are many passages adverse to the 
Aristotelian philosophy. He said in one of his debates 
that he who wished to apply himself, without trial or experi- 
ment, to the philosophy of Aristotle, must first become 
thoroughly inefficient in the School of Christ {Qui sine 
pei'iculo volet in Aristotele philosophari, necesse est, lU ante 
bene stultificetur in Christo), and asked, in his Adversus 
execrahilem Anticliristi Bullam, 1520, why the very wicked 
philosophy of Aristotle, in which nothing but errors was 
taught, was not condemned, at least in part (mo, cu7- im- 
piissimum Aristotelem, in quo non nisi error es docentur, non 
saltern in parte da^nnatis ?). Ramus wrote bitter criticisms 
of Aristotle's writings. In 1536 he proposed as the title 
of the thesis for his Degree at Paris : " Everything that 
Aristotle taught is false." This gave great offence to the 
Aristotelians, but Ramus sustained the argument so well 
that he obtained his Degree, and was licensed to teach. 
His talents were chiefly employed in attacking the Aristo- 
telians, and Ramism replaced Aristotelianism in some of 
the universities. Patrizi (1529-1597) contended that the 
works known under Aristotle's name were not authentic, 
and that the Aristotelian doctrines were false. He also 

■-'= The Vision, Inferno, Canto iv. (Gary's translation), 
f 11 Co?ivivio, iv. c. 6. 


held that Plato and not Aristotle should be considered to be 
the ally of the Church. 

The Aristotelian writings were also assailed by men 
who worked hard to ascertain facts and test the truth of 
the Ai'istotelian philosophy by experiment, when possible. 
Their attacks happened to be directed against some of the 
weakest parts of Aristotle's teachings, especially those re- 
lating to natural philosophy, and based mainly on abstract 
reasoning, and, to make matters worse, sometimes mis- 
interpreted by the Aristotelians themselves. Long before 
the Reformation, Roger Bacon had expressed his con- 
tempt for the Aristotelians and their Latin translations of 
Aristotle's works. Of Aristotle himself, he spoke highly, 
and at the end of chap. iii. of part 1 of his Opus Majus, says 
that, although Aristotle did not arrive at the end of know- 
ledge, he set in order all parts of philosophy. A much 
more determined attack was made after the Reformation 
by Galileo, Lord Bacon, and other experimentalists. One 
very direct attack by Galileo is of more than ordinary 
interest. In his Physics, iv. c. 8, s. 8, Aristotle says that 
when bodies fall through various media the rate of falling 
depends on : (1) the nature of the medium, (2) the weights 
of the falling bodies, other things being equal. He then deals 
with these determining causes, and, although his reasoning 
is sometimes obscure and occasionally inconsistent, it is 
evident that he considered the velocity of a falling body to 
be proportional to its weight. The Aristotelians at Pisa 
strenuously supported this view, and, unable to convince 
them of error by argument, Galileo resorted to experiment. 
He ascended the leaning tower of Pisa, and showed that 
bodies of different weights, dropped together from a con- 
venient part of the tower, struck the ground simultaneously. 
He is said to have used two shot, one ten times heavier 
than the other. Notwithstanding this experiment, the 
Aristotelians still argued against Galileo, and would not 
abandon their opinion that the velocity of a falling body 
was proportional to its weight. They were greatly incensed 
against Galileo, and in 1591 he found it advisable to resign 
his professorship at Pisa. The way in which the Aristo- 
telians at Pisa defended what they believed to be the views 
of their master is a striking proof of the great influence of 
Aristotle's writings, even as late as the end of the sixteenth 

Lord Bacon made caustic comments on Aristotle, and 


held his followers in contempt. It has been said that Lord 
Bacon knew little of Aristotle's works first-hand, but this 
was a common fault among the scholars of his time. He 
said that no weight should be given to the fact that Aristotle, 
in some of his works, deals with experiments, for he had 
formed his conclusions before, and made experiments con- 
form with what he wished ;* and, commenting on the 
fewness of the authors referred to in Aristotle's works. 
Lord Bacon said that Aristotle, on whom the philosophy 
of his day chiefly depended, never mentioned an author 
except to confute and reprove him.t The chief effects of 
Lord Bacon's antagonism, however, were ultimately seen 
in the replacement, to a large extent, of the Aristotelian 
philosophy by the " New or Experimental Philosophy," 
expounded chiefly in the Novum Organum. 

The Aristotelians facilitated the success of their oppo- 
nents by their own excessive zeal. They adopted, to a 
greater extent than Aristotle did, the Platonic ideas about 
the supreme importance of abstract speculation, and the in- 
tellectual degradation associated with the work of artizans 
and others who provide for the common wants of mankind ; 
they neglected Aristotle's advice to make sure of the facts 
before trying to explain the causes ; they often put a forced 
construction on Aristotle's words ; they went too far in 
their attempts to show that Aristotle was infallible. Their 
position was difficult in the fifteenth century, when the 
Revival of Learning was in progress, accompanied by a 
great increase in commercial prosperity and the growth of 
affluence and power among the very classes whom they pre- 
tended to despise. In later times, when they were opposed 
by men who were both scholars and experimentalists, their 
position became almost untenable. The interest taken in 
Aristotle's works became less and less until, during the first 
half of the eighteenth century, most of his writings were 
very much neglected. 

It is interesting to find that, during this period of 
comparative neglect of the study of Aristotle, the interest 
taken in his zoological works became greater perhaps than 
it had ever been. Conrad Gesner, Belon of Le Mans, 
Rondelet, and others wrote large treatises, much of the 
groundwork of which was obtained from Aristotle, and 

■•' Novum Organum, Aphorism 63. 
\ Filuin Labyrinthi, &c., part i. § 8. 


Francis Willughby, John Ray, and Peter Artedi (whose 
work on ichthyology was edited by Linnseus) were students 
of Aristotle. Gesner's Historia Animalium, 1551-87, con- 
taining numerous extracts from and comments on Aristotle's 
History of Animals, was the standard work on animals for 
many years. 

In the latter part of the eighteenth and early part of 
the nineteenth century there was a revival of interest in 
Aristotle's writings. This revival, effected to a large extent 
by the efforts of Lessing and Hegel, has not died out. On 
the contrary, the interest taken in Aristotle's writings has 
been steadily increasing, and the peculiar character of these 
writings will probably cause such interest to increase still 
more, for they represent more fully than any others the 
highest intellectual development of ancient Greece. The 
opinions of the philosophers who preceded him are more 
fully and accurately set forth by Aristotle than by any other 
writer. He gives valuable accounts of their views, and 
discusses how far they should be accepted or rejected. He 
also makes extensive additions to the knowledge obtained 
from his predecessors, and adds the results of his own 
researches in many subjects which they had never investi- 
gated. It may be fairly claimed that, in his attempts to 
separate and define the various branches of learning, Aristotle 
established several new sciences, more especially Logic, 
Rhetoric, Ethics, and Zoology. The best parts of his 
writings on these subjects have passed into modern treatises. 
Large parts of his Analytics have been absorbed in this 
way. Little has been added by later writers to his work 
on rhetoric. In modern zoological works, excepting most 
of those describing the results of recent researches, or 
animals unknown to Aristotle, many statements are made 
which recall to the mind of the Aristotelian scholar passages 
in the History of Animals or other Aristotelian treatise. 
It has also been contended, not always groundlessly, that 
some passages in Aristotle's works anticipated several 
theories and discoveries of modern times. Among such 
alleged anticipations may be mentioned the undulatory 
theory of light, the so-called law of organic equivalents, the 
hectocotylus of certain cephalopods, the nest-making habits 
of some fishes, and the occm'rence of hermaphroditism in 
some species of Serranus. 

The unobtrusive, even hidden, influence of the Aristo- 
telian writings is perhaps more striking. This influence is 


to be traced in the most unexpected connections. Sir Alex- 
ander Grant tells us that the passages in Aristotle's De Cmlo, 
ii. c. 14, 298a, in which he inclines to a belief that the 
ocean to the west of Europe and that to the east of India 
are one and the same, did much to influence the mind of 
Columbus and send him on his memorable voyage, and that 
they were the cause of the islands of Central America being 
called the West Indies, and the aborigines of North America 
being called Indians. Further, there are many words and 
phrases which have become firmly established, although 
with modified meanings, chiefly through the influence of 
the Aristotelian writings. Among these words and phrases 
may be mentioned the following : — 

aorta essence motive 

category faculty natural history 

cetacea final cause physician 

coleoptera form predicament 

diptera habit principle 

energy malacostraca quintessence 

entelechy maxim selachia 

enthymeme mean between extremes syllogism 

entomology metaphysics 

The well-known saying, " There is nothing new under 
the sun," is several times given by Aristotle, in equivalent 
language, e. g. in his Meteorol. i. c. 3, s. 4, he says that the 
same ideas have recurred to men times without end ; and, 
in his Polit. vii. c. 9, 1329 &, he expresses his belief that 
discoveries and inventions come easily to men, and have 
been made over and over again by different peoples and in 
different countries. 

The foregoing is but an outline to indicate the vast 
extent to which Aristotle's writings have exercised the 
minds and influenced the conduct of men in many countries 
and in almost every age for more than two thousand years. 
He has had many adverse critics, but many more followers 
or admirers possessed with an enthusiasm for his philosoph}' 
which has often been nearly as great as that shown by the 
Aristotelian, Thomas Aquinas. Many of them have written 
commentaries on some parts of his works, especially his 
Ethics, Politics, Metaphysics, De Anima, and parts of his 
Organon, and so vast is the Aristotelian literature that no 
man can hope to attain more than a general knowledge 
of it. 


Aristotle was bom, probably in B.C. 384, at 
Cha'racter of Stagira, a Greek colony near the Strymonic 

Aristotle. Gulf, and about seventy miles eastward 

from Pella, the capital of Macedonia. His 
father, Nicomachus, was physician-in-ordinary to Amyntas 
II., King of Macedonia. After the death of Nicomachus, 
Aristotle went to Athens, where he became a pupil of 
Plato ; this important step was taken, it is generally 
believed, when Aristotle was seventeen years old. Plato 
soon formed a high opinion of Aristotle's abilities, and 
called him " the intellect of his school." While he was 
with Plato he began a controversy against Isocrates, the 
distinguished rhetorician, and it is said that Aristotle went 
so far as to open a school of rhetoric in opposition to 

Soon after Plato's death, B.C. 347, Aristotle left Athens 
and went to Atarneus, in Mysia, where he resided with his 
friend Hermias, despot of Atarneus, whose niece, Pythias, 
he married. In B.C. 344 Hermias was treacherously cap- 
tured by the Persians and put to death. It was then 
unsafe for Aristotle to remain at Atarneus, so he escaped to 

In B.C. 342, at tne request of Philip of Macedon, he 
became tutor to Philip's son, Alexander, In consequence of 
this Aristotle lived in Macedonia for seven years, and was 
greatly honoured. One favour granted to him was of so 
regal a character as to deserve special mention. His native 
town had been destroyed by Philip during the Olynthiau 
War, B.C. 350-47, and its inhabitants slain or dispersed. 
After a request by Aristotle, Philip gave express orders that 
Stagira should be rebuilt, and its inhabitants reinstated as 
far as possible. 

At the death of Philip, B.C. 336, Alexander became King 
of Macedonia, and soon afterwards completed his prepara- 
tions for the invasion of Asia. Before Alexander proceeded 
on his career of conquest Aristotle went to Athens, where 
the Lyceum was assigned to him by the State. Here he 
established his famous School, afterwards called the Peri- 

Aristotle appears to have produced most of his works 
during the time, B.C. 335-23, when he was at the Lyceum. 
His reputation as a philosopher was high, and, as a friend 
of Alexander and his viceroy Antipater, his influence must 
have been great. Among his pupils were the well-known 


Theophrastus, Eudemus of Rhodes (who is beheved to have 
written the Eudemian Ethics, and some other Aristotehan 
treatises), and Cassander, son of Antipater. 

It has been asserted that Alexander placed at Aristotle's 
disposal several thousand men to make collections of all 
kinds of animals for Aristotle's own use, and that, with the 
aid of materials thus provided, his renowned work, the 
History of Animals, was produced.* The truth of this 
story has been doubted, partly because Macedonia was a 
poor country and could not bear the expense which the col- 
lection of a vast number of animals would necessitate. 
This, however, is not a valid objection, for although Mace- 
donia itself was poor, Alexander obtained vast stores of 
wealth during his campaigns in Asia. Athenseus tells us 
that, according to rumour, Aristotle received eight hundred 
talents from Alexander to enable him to finish his History 
of Animals A A passage from j951ian makes the truth of 
the matter doubtful. He says that Aristotle produced his 
History of Ani^nals with the aid of the wealth of Philip, 
and that Philip honoured Plato and Theophrastus. t The 
whole question of the supposed aid rendered to Aristotle by 
Philip or Alexander, or both, is involved in obscurity. 
Having regard for the undoubted facts that Philip esteemed 
Aristotle very highly, and that Alexander was very friendly 
towards him while he was his pupil and for some years 
afterwards, it is clear that Aristotle could have obtained 
assistance from them. It is less likely that such assistance 
was given in later years, because Alexander's feelings to- 
wards him cooled by degrees, and were perhaps somewhat 
hostile after the arrest, on a charge of conspiracy, of Callis- 
thenes, who was a pupil and nominee of Aristotle serving 
with Alexander in Asia. 

After Alexander's death, B.C. 323, Aristotle was watched 
with suspicion at Athens, for he was considered to be 
friendly to the Macedonian power, and he also had many 
enemies among the followers of Plato and Isocrates. 
Further, an incident which could not fail to give great 
offence to the Athenians and other Hellenes had occurred in 
B.C. 324. At the Olympic festival in that year, Alexander 
caused a proclamation to be made that all Greek cities 
should recall all exiles who had been banished by judicial 
sentence. The officer who made this proclamation was 

Pliny, Nat. Hist. viii. 17. f Deipn. ix. 58. 



Nicanor, friend of Aristotle and son of Proxenus, who had 
been Aristotle's guardian. On account of his close connec- 
tion with Nicanor, who afterwards became his son-in-law, 
Aristotle shared in the odium caused by this event. 

While Alexander lived, Aristotle was practically safe from 
the attacks of his enemies, but, as soon as it was known 
that the great conqueror had died, Aristotle's enemies 
sought to ruin him. He had not taken an active part in 
Athenian politics, for he was not a citizen of Athens, and 
his enemies, not being able to bring a political charge 
against him, determined to accuse him of impiety. He had 
written a poem in honour of Hermias, associating his name 
with the names of the greatest heroes of Hellas, and he had 
erected a statue of Hermias at Delphi, with an inscription 
in his honour. These were the chief charges against 
Aristotle, the Athenians considering that it was especially 
impious to praise Hermias as if he had been a demi-god. 
These specific charges were supplemented by references to 
passages in Aristotle's works tending to show his impiety. 
A modern reader would have some difficulty in finding 
passages of this nature, but it should be remembered that 
the Athenians gave a very wide meaning to that impiety, at 
which they expressed great horror. They found some 
passages, so it is said, suitable for supporting their prose- 
cution, such as, for example, certain statements to the effect 
that prayer and sacrifices to the gods were of no avail. 

During the short time between Alexander's death and 
the preferring of the charges against Aristotle, the anti- 
Macedonian party became more powerful, and Aristotle soon 
felt that he would be unable to withstand the attacks of his 
enemies. He availed himself of an Athenian law which 
allowed an accused person to avoid the risk of a trial by 
going into voluntary exile, and escaped to Chalcis, in 
Euboea. Shortly afterwards he died a natural death, at 
Chalcis, in B.C. 322, at the age of about sixty-two years. 
Diogenes Laertius, in his Life of Aristotle, says that he 
died through taking poison, but there does not appear to be 
any reliable evidence for this assertion. 

From statements made by various ancient writers, we 
learn that Aristotle was rather short and slim ; that his 
eyes were small and his speech lisping ; that he was 
vivacious and energetic, although his bodily constitution was 
weak ; and that he lived very elegantly and paid great 
attention to his dress and personal appearance. 


Possessed of considerable means, enjoying the friend- 
ship of the most powerful rulers of his time, occupying a 
high social position, and having great opportunities for pro- 
secuting his investigations, Aristotle was the most fortunate 
of philosophers. He appears to have lived a highly honour- 
able life, and no charge indicating any serious defect of 
character seems to have been proved against him. Many 
passages in his works are indicative of high moral feeling. 
Of his religious beliefs we know very little. When he refers 
to the gods, or Hellenic beliefs, he does so reverently, but 
these subjects appear to have been avoided by him. Although 
his views on the subject are not sufficiently clearly ex- 
pressed, he does not seem to have believed in the immor- 
tality of the soul of an individual. According to him, all 
parts of the soul, except perhaps the intellectual soul, are 
inseparable from the body.* Man and other animals 
cannot participate in immortality, yet each individual tries, 
one more and another less, to participate in a kind of immor- 
tality by producing individuals like itself, all being members 
of an everlasting species, t 

Antipater testifies to the effect that Aristotle was courteous 
and persuasive in manner. That he was kind and con- 
siderate is shown by the way in which he drew up his will, 
as it is given by Diogenes Laertius, carefully providing for 
his second wife Herpyllis, his daughter Pythias, his son 
Nicomachus, and his slaves. He made provision for some 
of his slaves, and expressly willed that none of his young 
slaves should be sold. 

After his death there were many detractors of his 
reputation. ^lian states that Aristotle squandered his 
paternal fortune, then served in the army, and, failing there, 
became a seller of drugs.! One of the characters in 
Athenaeus says that he could narrate a great deal about the 
nonsense which the seller of drugs talked, and then gives 
statements about Aristotle agreeing with those cited above 
from ^lian, but adds significantly that Epicurus alone 
spoke thus of him, for, although Eubulides and Cephiso- 
dorus wrote books against him, neither ventured to assert 
anything of this kind.§ Grote tells us that Epicurus was 
not the only witness, for the same statements were made by 
Timaeus. Other charges were made against Aristotle, but 

'= De Aninia, ii. c. 1, 413a; ii. c. 2, 4136. 

I Ibid. ii. c. 4, 4156. 

I Varice Historue, v. 9. § Deipn. viii. 50. 


the mere statement of many of these, such as that accusing 
him of aiding in poisoning Alexander, constitutes the most 
effective refutation of them. The charge of aiding in 
poisoning Alexander is mentioned by Pliny,* but it should 
be mentioned, in justice to Pliny, that he himself was a 
great admirer of Aristotle, and that he adds that the charge 
was false and did great injustice to him. It can scarcely be 
denied that Alexander died a natural death at Babylon. 

Of the numerous works which have been 

Aristotle's included among the Aristotelian treatises, 

Natural"sdem!e. there are some which are considered to have 

been written, not by Aristotle but by his 
pupils or followers. The determination of Aristotle's own 
works has engaged the attention of many scholars, and has 
been very difficult. This question has been considered from 
almost every conceivable point of view, and, as regards 
those works dealing with subjects which may be said to 
belong to the Natural Sciences, it is now generally believed 
that those mentioned below are genuine works of Aristotle. 
The Greek titles and their usual Latin and English equi- 
valents are given in each case. 

(1) (puaiKY) a>cp6aaii, Auscultatio Naturalis, ' Physics.' 

(2) Trepi oupavoii, De CcbIo, ' On the Heavens.' 

(3) ■TTEjOJ yeveaec^i «ai (pOocag, De Geueratione et Corruptione, 
' On Generation and Destruction.' 

(4) /xETsupoMyiHix, Meteor ica, ' Meteorology.' 

(5) TTsp) t^m laropia, De Animalihus Historia, ' History of 

(6) TTsp) ^uuv ixopiuv, De Animaliimi Partibus, ' On the 
Parts of Animals.' 

(7) TTEp] ^aicov TTopeiag, De Animalium Incessu, * On the 
Progressive Motion of Animals.' 

(8) 'TTEp) -^vxyii, De Anima, ' On the " Soul " or the Vital 

(9) 9re/)l avxmvoYiq, De Bespiratione, ' On Respiration.' 

(10) 'TJ'fp' ala-SyiaEcc; km ali9r)Tuv, De Sensu et Sensihilihus, 
' On Sense and Objects of Sensation.' 

(11) Trsp] ^uvi Ka\ Qavarou, De Vita et Morte, ' On Life and 

(12) TTspl |ttv>7/tA>i5 Koi dvafxvYiaEco';, De Memoria et Beminiscentia, 
' On Memory and Reminiscence.' 

"i= Nat. Hist, XXX. 53. 


(13) '^^pi vitvQu Hail kypnyopffecos, Be SoJUHo et Vigilia, ' On 
Sleep and Wakefulness.' 

(14) 77£^j ivuWim, De Insoinniis, ' On Dreams.' 

(15) Tf/)' fxay.poldiornroi; nai j3^a%y/3<o'T}iTOf, De VitCB Lougi- 

tudine et Brevitate, ' On Length and Shortness of Life.' 

(16) TEf' v£o't»toj Ka\ jYipco<;, Be Juventic et Senectute, ' On 
Youth and Old Age.' 

(17) 'fef' ^c^ccv ytvEo-Ecoi;, Be Animalium Generatione, ' On 
Generation of Animals.' 

Nos. 9 to 16, both inclusive, form the chief parts of the 
so-called Parva Naturalia. 

The following are considered to be spurious, or at least 
doubtful : — 

(1) TTE^i ^uiiv Kmaswi, Be Animalium Motione, ' On the 
Motion of Animals.' 

(2) "Ticp) Koaixou, Be Miinclo, ' On the Universe.' 

(3) 'TEf' xp^f^^T^v, Be Colorihus, ' On Colours.' 

(4) 7rep\ (pvTuv, Be Plantis, ' On Plants.' 

(5) ra TrpofSxYif^ara, Prohlemata, ' The Problems.' 

Aristotle's works, as a whole, are characterized by 
relevancy and methodical arrangement of subject-matter, 
conciseness of expression, and simplicity of language. Many 
parts of his History of Animals, Meteorology, Parts of 
Animals, Bespiration, Progressive Motion of Animals, and 
Generation of Animals, illustrate these characteristics. 
They clearly show his desire to state facts, or his own 
opinions, in a plain way, there being but few attempts to 
write in a highly polished style. 

The subject-matter of his works varies considerably in 
interest. Many parts of the works referred to above furnish 
very interesting reading, but some parts of his works are of 
very little interest and even tedious, such as, for example, 
many parts of Books iii. and iv. of his work on the Heavens 
and Books iv. v. and vi. of the Physics. In his Aristotle, 
&c., 1864, p. 143, G. H. Lewes expresses an opinion that 
Aristotle's Generation and Bestruction is in his most weari- 
some style of verbal disputation. It may be said, however, 
that some parts of this work are very interesting, especially 
the numerous passages in which Aristotle gives his views on 
mixture, and what may be fairly called chemical com- 
position. Some passages of his works, even where the 
subject-matter is simple, e.g., those in H. A. ii. c. 2, s. 6, 
relating to the way in which the feet of camels are divided, 


are very difficult to translate or understand, but, in most 
cases, the difficulties are chiefly due to the abstruse nature 
of the subjects to which the passages relate. 

Aristotle often sets forth what he intends to discuss, and 
the order in which he proposes to discuss the various 
branches of a subject, and he often gives a valuable descrip- 
tion and criticism of the views of other philosophers on the 
subject under discussion. 

Numerous instances might be given of the pertinence of 
his style, e. g., cc. 1-12 of his work on Bespiration, his 
description of the arrangement of the blood-vessels, in his 
History of Animals, iii. cc. 2-4, his descriptions of four of 
his groups of animals, the Malakia, MalaJiOstraka, Ostra- 
'koderma, and Entoma, in his History of Animals, iv. cc. 
1-7, his descriptions of many separate animals, e. g., the 
Chamseleon, the Cuckoo, the Elephant, and the Barbary 
Ape, in various parts of his History of Animals, and his 
description of rainbows, primary and secondary, in his 
Meteorology, iii. c. 2, ss. 3-5. The reader is sometimes 
checked by suddenly coming upon a passage which has little 
or no apparent connection with Vv^hat precedes it, but some 
passages of this kind are interpolations, and may be com- 
mentators' marginal notes which have found their way into 
the texts. The apparent interpolations are rarely of any 
value, and are often inaccurate. 

Generally speaking, Aristotle's method of treating a 
subject is very different from Plato's. There is certainly 
much abstract reasoning in some of his works, but this is 
avoided in his History of Animals, in many parts of his 
other zoological works, and in many parts of his Meteoro- 
logy, which contain records of a vast number of interesting 
phenomena and facts. He is eminently practical, and is 
the first to condescend to regard the observation of things 
themselves as an important part of the foundation of know- 
ledge. In some cases, where he could not or did not 
observe for himself, he seems to have relied on the state- 
ments of hunters, fishermen, and others. As might be 
expected, some of his worst errors resulted from his adop- 
tion of these statements. 

Many w^ords, some of which were recognized Greek 
words before his time, are employed by Aristotle in a 
special sense. Most of his assertions are made in short, / 
simple sentences, and ellipses often occur. There are also 
repetitions of many statements in the same or slightly 


different language, e. cj., he tells us that his Selache are 
cartilaginous, or that they are ovoviviparous, in many diffe- 
rent passages, most of his statements about his homoso- 
meria in the History of Animals are repeated in his Parts 
of Animals, and many parts of the subject-matter of his 
Generation and Destruction are to be found in his remaining 

In his zoological works are many passages which the 
context does not explain, and quite one-half of the animals 
mentioned by him are not described in such a way as to 
enable them to be identified. The reason for this is that 
in many cases the animals are mentioned merely for the 
purpose of illustrating general statements. On the other 
hand, several passages which are not explained by their 
contexts are made clear in one or more passages of the same 
or a different work, e.g., that in his History of Animals, 
i. c. 5, s. 7, which asserts that animals walk >t»Ta ^idfxsrpov, 
is fully explained in his Progression of Animals, c. 14. It 
is necessary, in fact, to study many passages in several 
of his treatises, in order to understand his views on most 
scientific subjects, and, it should be mentioned, some of 
these passages are not consistent. Two works, the Zoica 
and Anatomica, to which he sometimes refers, would have 
thrown light on difficult passages in his extant zoological 
works. Those two works, however, have not been recovered. 

It has often been stated that in his zoological works 
Aristotle has borrowed from many writers without acknow- 
ledgment. This charge seems to be substantially true, 
although he specifically mentions Anaxagoras, Empedocles, 
Democritus of Abdera, Alcmseon, ©ieSy^ue of Apollonia, 
Herodotus, Syennesis of Cyprus, Polybus, and a few others. 
The comment made by Cuvier and Valenciennes, when 
speaking of Aristotle's work in connection with fishes, is not 
unfair. They say : " It is true that, by a practice only too 
common in our own time, Aristotle scarcely mentions other 
authors, except those whom he wishes to refute, and he has 
been charged even with ingratitude to Hippocrates, whose 
name he does not mention, although he must have borrowed 
from him more than one idea. As regards the rest, we do 
not think that he has done much wrong to the ichthyo- 
logists, if any, who preceded him. The fragments pre- 
served by Athenaeus, which we can attribute to them, do 
not show that they treated their subject methodically or 
carefully, and everything makes us believe that it was 


through Aristotle's writings only that ichthyology, like all 
other branches of zoology, first took the form of a science."* 
Eubulides and others charged x^ristotle with ingratitude 
to Plato. This charge has been much discussed by modern 
writers, and in connection with it it may be said that in 
Aristotle's zoological works there are passages which, like 
the one in his History of Animals, iii. c. 3, s. '2, about 
the heart being the origin of the blood-vessels, look like 
developments of statements found in Plato. Aristotle is 
deserving of censure for not acknowledging Plato, if he was 
indebted to him for the groundwork of such passages. To 
decide whether this was so seems to be impossible, for, 
independently of arguments which might be adduced for 
settling it, the question is complicated by the fact that for 
some years Aristotle was Plato's most gifted pupil, and the 
imparting of ideas may not always have been from tutor to 
pupil. In matters connected with the nature and arrange- 
ment of the parts of animals Plato may have been some- 
what indebted to Aristotle. 

Much labour has been spent by Aristotelian 

Aristotle's scholars in trying to determine the relative 

Works dealing positions of Aristotle's works, and a consider- 

Naturll'sdence. ^"^^^^^ ^f some of the views held on this 
subject may be of interest. Not only is the 
evidence on which the inquiry rests of such a nature that it 
is difficult to estimate its true value, but the inquiry itself is 
complicated by the probability that Aristotle had more than 
one work on hand at one and the same time. 

It is usually considered that Aristotle's Physics, Heavens, 
Generation and Destruction, and Meteorology, were written 
before the zoological treatises, including the De Anima, and 
that these were begun soon after the Meteorology . There 
are, in fact, some apparently genuine passages in the Meteoro- 
logy which strongly support this view. The Physics was 
probably written before the Heavens which, it has been 
computed from the description of an occultation of Mars in 
Book ii. c. 12, 292«. of that work, was written after B.C. 357. 
There is also a passage in Meteorol. iii. c. 2, s. 9, which 
suggests that the Meteorology was not completed before 
B.C. 334, for Aristotle there says that he had known of only 
two instances of lunar rainbows during a period of over fifty 

'•' Hist. Nat. des Foissons, Paris, 1828-49, vol. i. pp. 15-16. 


The difficulty of deciding on the probable order of the 
zoological works, including the De Anima, has been much 
greater than that of deciding on the probable order of the 
Physics, Heavens, Generation and Desfntcfion, and Meteoro- 
logy, and the difficulty was not lessened by Titze's sugges- 
tion, in 18"26, that Book i. of the Parts of Anifnals was 
originally an introduction to the History of Ayiimals. It is 
generally admitted that the De Anima comes early in 
Aristotle's series of zoological and related works, and, so it 
seems from the last sentence of the Progressive Motion 
of Ani)nals, immediately after this last-named work. It is 
also generally admitted that the Parva NaturaUa come 
after the De Anima. 

"With respect to the probable order of the three im- 
portant works, the History of Animals, Parts of Animals, 
and Generation of Animals, it will be well to give the views 
of some Aristotelian scholars. Furlanus of Crete believed 
that the History of Anitnals should precede all the other 
works by Aristotle on animals.* Schneider concluded that 
the order was History of Animals, Parts of Animals, and 
Generation of Animals. Prantl, in his De Aristot. Lihr. . . . 
Ordine atque Dispos., &c., Munich, 1843, p. 28, and Titze, in 
his De Aristot. Operum Serie, Sec, Leipzig and Prague, 18'26, 
pp. 58 et seq., adopted a similar order for these three works. 
Valentin Eose also adopted a similar order, and was 
inclined to believe that the History of Animals was probably 
written some years after the battle of Arbela, B.C. 331, or 
very likely after the return of the veterans of Alexander's 
army, say B.C. 326, or not before B.C. 327, mainly on the 
ground that the elephants, about which Aristotle had infor- 
mation, were those taken in war bj' the Macedonians.! On 
the other hand, some have held that the Parts of Animals 
should come first. Patrizi says : "I know that all Aristo- 
telians contend that the History of Animals should precede 
all the other zoological works, because they think that the 
phenomena are prior to and better known than their causes, 
and that we should begin with what is better known." I 
Again, he expresses an opinion that the History of Animals 
should be put in the last place, and that all who had put 

* In Libr. Aristot. de Part. Anitn. Comment, primus, kc. Venice, 
1574. Preface, p. 11. 

f De Aristot. Lihr. Ordine et Auctor. Comment. Berlin, 1854, 
pp. 216, 240, and 241. 

\ Discuss. Perijiat., &c. Venice, 1571, p. 79a. 


it in the first place had inverted the order of Aristotehan 
philosophy.* Sir A. Grant says that the Parts of Animals 
may very likely have been written first after the Meteo- 
rologijA Another question, to which reference has been 
made, should now be considered. Book i. of the History 
of Animals has no well-marked Introduction, and the com- 
mencement is so abrupt, compared with the opening parts 
of Aristotle's other works, that many commentators have 
believed that the History of Animals once had an Introduc- 
tion which has been lost or transposed. Patrizi seems to 
have believed that the Parts of Animals should be regarded 
as an Introduction to the entire series of Aristotle's zoolo- 
logical works. Titze argued that Book i. of the Parts 
of Animals was originally the Introduction to the History 
of Animals ; that some transcribers so regarded it ; and 
that some ignorant or careless critic, losing sight of the fact 
that it was an Introduction to the History of Animals, 
transferred it and ordered it to be made the first book of the 
Parts of Animals.X This suggestion has not met with 
general approval, but it was adopted by Dr. von Frantzius, 
editor of our best Greek text of the Parts of Animals, and 
by Carl J. Sundevall, the author of a well-known work on 
some of the animals mentioned by Aristotle. 

The most profitable way of dealing with the question of 
the probable order of the chief zoological works seems to be 
to consider not only the order of production or publication, 
but also the order in which these works should come in 
Aristotle's system, or the order in which he intended them 
to be studied. 

There are many passages in the zoological works stat- 
ing that certain subjects have been discussed, or will be 
discussed, in other works, the titles of which are clearly 
indicated, e.g., in P. A. iii. c. 14, 674&, it is stated that the 
relative positions and shapes of the parts of the stomach of 
a ruminant should be ascertained from the History of 
Animals. Passages such as the last-mentioned, assuming 
them to be genuine, show that the History of Animals 
preceded most, if not all, of the other zoological works. 
Some commentators who have found leisure to examine the 
references thoroughly have concluded, however, that a few 

* Discuss. Peripat. &c. Basle, 1581, p. 123. 
+ Aristotle. Edinburgh and London, 1877, p. 47. 
\ De Aristot. Operum Serie et Distinctione. Leipzig and Prague, 
1826, p. 55. 



of them are inconsistent, and that many, if not all, have 
been inserted by editors and others. Still, the value of 
these references as evidence is not negligible, and a careful 
search through the zoological works does not reveal any 
passage in which the History of Animals is referred to as a 
work in contemplation. Then there are references and 
indications which are more closely bound up with the 
contexts and are undoubtedly genuine parts of Aristotle's 
works. In his Analijt. Prior, i. c. 30, it is said that the 
facts relating to a subject should be ascertained before an 
attempt is made to reason about it. He also proposes 
to consider the " causes " and generation when the animals 
and their peculiar features have been described.* The term 
" causes " is used in a special sense for those on account 
of which the parts of animals are composed and arranged 
in the manner described in the History of Animals, \ 
and most of the Parts of A^iimals deals with these causes 
and with the functions of the parts. Leaving out of con- 
sideration the question of the position of Book i. of the 
Parts of Animals, it may be concluded that Books ii.-iv. 
of the Parts of Animals should come later than the History 
of Animals, and that the Generation of Animals should 
come later that the Parts of Aiiimals. 

It is by no means easy to arrive at a conclusion about 
the supposed missing Introduction to the History of Animals 
and the position of Book i. of the Parts of Animals. The 
reason given for supposing that the History of Animals 
once had an Introduction, which has been lost or transposed, 
has never seemed to me to be satisfactory. The character 
of that work is very different from that of most of Aristotle's 
works. From beginning to end he seems to be trying to 
state simple facts. An Introduction would be less needed 
in a work of this kind. He himself tells us that the special 
function of a preface or introduction is to explain the object 
of a speech, and that an introduction is not needed when 
the nature of the subject-matter is clear.! 

Again, if it is urged that there should be an Introduction 
to the History of Aniinals, there is no need to look beyond 
the first few chapters of that work. After giving a very 
general account of the parts, habits, dispositions, modes of 
reproduction, and a few other features of animals, Aristotle 
says : " So far, I have considered these things in outline, to 

* H. A. i. c. 6, s. 4; P. A. i. cc. 1 and 5. f P. A. ii. c. i. C4Grt. 

I Rhetoric, iii c. 14, s. G. 


serve as a foretaste of what is to follow." * This general 
account is an introduction, and was so regarded by J. 
Barfchelemy Saint-Hilaire. Considering the nature of the 
subject-matter of the History of Animals, such introduction 
seems to be sufficient. 

The last sentence of Book i. of the Parts of Animals 
reads: "Let us try to explain the causes, both general and 
particular, commencing in the first place from first princi- 
ples, as we have determined." Now, the first part of Book 
ii. of the Parts of Animals commences from first principles 
by describing the formation of the so-called elements, then 
the formation of Aristotle's so-called homceomeria from 
these elements, and next the formation of anhomoeomeria, 
or complex parts. Therefore, the sentence in question, if 
correctly placed, indicates that Book i. should immediately 
precede Book ii. 

There is, however, another aspect of the question which 
should be considered. Book i. of the Parts of Animals is of 
an essentially introductory character, and appears to have 
been intended to form an Introduction to the zoological 
works in general. It sets forth the following order of deal- 
ing with animals and vital phenomena : — (1) Animals as they 
appear to us, their natures and parts, should be described ; 
j(2) well-defined groups of animals should be described to- 
gether, and animals which have not been put into well- 
defined groups should be described separately; and (3) parts 
of animals and actions and processes, such as progressive 
motion, sleep, growth, and generation, common to groups of 
animals, should be described. Now these subjects are 
described in the History of Animals, some much more fully 
than others, and the method of treatment seems to be based 
upon that laid down in Book i. of the Parts of Animals. 
Again, some works, such as those on Progressive Motion of 
Animals, Pespiration, Sleep, &c.. Memory and Beminiscence, 
and Generation of Animals, deal fully with many subjects 
described only in outline in the History of Animals. The 
method laid down in Book i. of the Parts of Animals seems, 
therefore, to be followed, except as regards the " causes," in 
the History of AniiJials, together with the works referred to, 
and Book i. of the Parts of Animals seems to be intro- 
ductory to Aristotle's zoological works generally, as well as 
to the Parts of Animals in particular. 

* H. A. i. c. 6, s. 4. 


On subjects so difficult as those of the order of Aristotle's 
zoological and related works, and the supposed missing Intro- 
duction to his History of Animals, dogmatic opinions are 
out of place, and the following statements are made with 
some diffidence. The History of Animals has an Introduc- 
tion ending at i. c. 6, s. 4. Book i. of the Parts of Animals 
was written as an introduction to the zoological and related 
works generally, the first to be commenced having been the 
History of Animals. During the production of this work, 
it was found to be expedient to treat more fully some of the 
subjects, such as progressive motion, respiration, sleep, 
memory, and generation, in separate works, and thus 
Aristotle had several of his zoological and related works on 
hand at one and the same time. In connection with these 
views, the fact already referred to, viz., the absence of a 
reference to the History of Animals as a work in contem- 
plation, is of some importance. Another important fact is 
that Book vii. of that work, dealing with the development 
and growth of man, is manifestly incomplete. This indi- 
cates that the History of Animals occupied Aristotle's atten- 
tion up to the close of his life. 



The basis of Aristotle's method, as set out in his writings, 
was the ascertainment of facts by actual observation of 
natural phenomena. He preferred to rely on the evidences 
of the senses rather than attempt to obtain a knowledge of 
phenomena by a process of abstract reasoning. He knew 
that the senses of sight and hearing, in particular, were less 
keen or reliable in some persons than in others,* that some- 
times the senses of touch and smell and, more rarely, those 
of sight, hearing, and taste, are not trustworthy,! and he 
believed that Man was surpassed by many animals in the 
keenness of his senses, excepting those of touch and taste, + 
Without the aid of the senses, however, he did not think 
that anything could be learned or understood, § and he held 
that errors were due to incorrect interpretations of the 
evidences of the senses which, as far as they were giving 
indications of their own proper objects of sensation, were 
reliable, e.g., the tongue would be reliable if used only as an 
organ of taste, and not as an organ of touch. || 

His method, therefore, was very different from that of 
Plato, who denied that true knowledge could be based on 
observations by the senses. Not only did Plato deny that 
the evidences of the senses could be relied upon, but he also 
considered the intellectual faculties to be enthralled and 
their efficiency impaired by association with them. The 
well-known story of the prisoners in the cave, who could 
see only the back wall of the cave and the shadows projected 
thereon by the Sun, towards which their backs were turned,^ 

- H.A.i. ce. 8 and 9. 

+ P. A. ii. c. 2, 648a and h ; De Anima, iii. c. S, 4286, ii. c. 6, 418a, 
ii. c. 9, 421a. 

I H. A. i. c. 12, s. 4 ; P. A. ii. c. 16, 660a ; De Anima, ii. c. 9, 421a. 
§ De Anima, iii. c. 8, 432a ; De Sensu, dc, vi. 4456. 

II De Anima, ii. c. 6, 4l8a, iii. c. 3, 4276. 
*\ Republic, vii. 


exemplifies Plato's ideas about those who would make ob- 
servation by the senses a groundwork of true knowledge. 

The facts, of which many parts of Aristotle's writings 
on the Natural Sciences are so full, were collected by him to 
serve an important purpose in connection with his method 
of investigation. He says that the characters of animals 
should first be ascertained before any attempt is made to 
explain the causes,* and similarly in connection with other 
subjects he relies on a preliminary ascertainment of facts to 
serve as the groundwork for processes of inductive reasoning. 
The importance of this he seems to have been the first to 
appreciate fully. It has even been said that the inductive 
method was due to him, but this must be accepted with 
some qualification. Many thousands before his time em- 
ployed that method, at least unconsciously. Aristotle was 
the first, however, to lay down rules according to which 
inductive reasoning should proceed, and, still more important, 
he pointed out the value of the inductive method. To this 
extent, at least, the method is Aristotle's. 

Many passages might be cited to show that he was aware 
of the need for obtaining data by observation before coming 
to a conclusion, but a few will be sufficient. He begins his 
description of the reproduction of bees, in G. ^. iii. c. 10, by 
pointing out how difficult the subject is, and, after discussing 
it at great length with the aid of observations on the habits 
of bees, says that the phenomena were not sufficiently un- 
derstood, but that, if ever they were to be, the evidences of 
the senses should be relied on rather than abstract reasoning, 
but that this should be trusted, provided its conclusions 
agree with the phenomena.! Again, speaking of possible 
hermaphroditism in fishes, he says that no males had been 
seen among the Erytlirinoi, yet the females were full of pro- 
ducts of sexual generation, but adds that he had not so far been 
able to obtain any result worthy of credit on this subject. | 

Again, when dealing with animals generally, he often 
recommends his readers to examine the facts for themselves 
by dissecting the animals, and in P. A. iv. c. 5, 680<x, when 
describing some of the internal parts of his Ostrakodenna, 
he says that, while some of the parts can be clearly described 
in words, there are others which should be understood from 
an actual inspection of them. The thoroughness with which 
he proposed to investigate living beings is set out in P. ^, 

* P. .4. i. c. 5, 6456. f G. A. iii. c. 10, 7606. t O. A. ii. c. 5, 741a. 


i. c. 5, 645a. In that chapter he says that these ought to 
be carefully studied, not omitting even the lowest forms of 
life, which, even if not attractive in themselves, show 
Nature's handiwork, and afford pleasure to those who inquire 
into the causes of phenomena and are interested in philo- 
sophy. We ought not, he says, to turn away from an 
investigation of the lower animals, for every part of Nature 
reveals something to admire, and, just as Heraclitus, warm- 
ing himself by his kitchen fire, was reported to have told 
the strangers who called to see him not to be afraid to enter, 
for gods were present even in his humble dwelling, so 
Aristotle invites us to study every kind of animal, without 
being ashamed, for all of them show something natural and 

Then, with respect to the manner of reasoning on the 
facts obtained, Aristotle seems to proceed on principles 
equally sound. He asserts that we commonly conduct an 
inquiry, not with reference to the question discussed, but 
with reference to the opponent who argues the question 
with us, and that, if there is no opponent, we conduct the 
inquiry until we can satisfy our own objections. Therefore, 
he proceeds to say, he who intends to investigate completely 
any subject must take care to satisfy himself on all diffi- 
culties arising out of the subject, and this can be done only 
after he has examined all differences of opinion on the subject 
of inquiry.* 

The above is a brief account of Aristotle's method, as it 
is set forth in his writings. It might be expected that, after 
laying down such excellent rules, the results obtained by 
him would have been uniformly trustworthy, but this wasj 
not so. His own practical application of the method was: 
defective. He recognized the importance of a preliminary 
ascertainment of facts, but he did not appreciate that there 
were many natural phenomena about which very numerous 
observations must be made before any generalized statement 
of them, or any theory explaining them, could be formulated. 
It must have been necessary for him, just as it has been for 
investigators since his time, to decide how many observations 
ought to be made before the generalizing or theorizing pro- 
cess could be safely carried out. There are many indications 
in his writings on the Natural Sciences that he erred in 
being satisfied with an insufficient number of observations. 
Further, he was unaware how necessary it was to make 

- De Ccelo, ii. c. 13, 2Mh. 


many additional observations in order to test the results at 
which he arrived. This want of appreciation of the value 
of constant verification of results is evident in many parts of 
his works. A simple experiment, such as Galileo afterwards 
made, on the motion of falling bodies, would have caused 
him to reconsider his opinion that the velocity of a falling 
body is proportional to its weight. His belief that falling 
stars, comets, the Milky Way, winds, earthquakes, and some 
other phenomena were dependent in some way on the ex- 
istence of a peculiar dry vapour given off by the Earth,* had 
little else to support it besides abstract reasoning. An 
examination of the skeleton of a snake would have prevented 
him from asserting that it had thirty ribs,t and, if he had 
taken a freshwater eel, a conger, and a bass, skate, or other 
large fish, and had laid these open to expose the anterior 
part of the alimentary canal, he would not have stated that 
a few fishes, like the conger and the freshwater eel, have an 
oesophagus, but that it is small even in these,! or that the 
oesophagus is entirely wanting in some fishes, and is but 
short in others. § He had probably noticed that, in some 
fishes, the oesophagus was short, and that it was often 
difficult to determine where it ended and the stomach began, 
but he did not carry his observations far enough. 

The mistakes made by Aristotle have been made by many 
since his time. There were some cases, however, in which it 
would be unreasonable to expect Aristotle to succeed in 
arriving at the truth, even though he had made numerous 
observations and otherwise carefully followed the rules of 
his method. His want of success would follow naturally 
from the want of proper instruments of observation, and an 
inevitable inability to appreciate the very complicated nature 
of the phenomena themselves. Consider, for instance, his 
description, chiefly in H. A. vi. c. 3, of the phenomena of 
incubation of a bird's egg. He evidently believed that the 
heart was the first part to be developed. His researches on 
the incubation of a bird's egg, however, were original, and 
constitute one of the best proofs that he was a careful 
observer. Another statement, probably the result of many 
observations, may also be considered. He says that all 
fishes which have scales are oviparous. || Comparatively 
recent observations have shown that there are many excep- 
tions to this, yet Aristotle can scarcely be adversely criticized 

* MefeoroZ. i. and ii. f If.^. ii. c. 12, s. 12. | H. .4. ii. c. 12, s. 3. 
§ P. A. iii. c. 14, 675a. || H. A. ii. c. 9, s. 6. 



for making the statement. The exception most Hkely to 
come under his notice was the Viviparous Blenny {Zoarces 
viviparus), which has very small, delicate scales embedded 
in its skin. Other viviparous fishes with conspicuous scales, 
such as Sebastes iwrvegicus, found chiefly in Norwegian 
waters, and the Surf-fishes {EmbiotocidcB) , found off the 
Californian and Japanese coasts, were not likely to come 
under his observation. 

• As already stated, Aristotle should not be adversely criti- 
cized for making such statements, but there are many others 
which were due to errors of observation. The conger has 
four double gills on each side, and the parrot-wrasse has 
three double gills and one single gill on each side, but 
Aristotle says that each of these fishes has one double gill 
and one single gill on each side.* Again, the swallow has a 
very compact gizzard in the form of a thick, nearly circular 
disc with well-rounded edges, and the gizzard of the sparrow 
is also very compact, while its oesophagus is comparatively 
large, for it is usually a quarter of an inch in diameter when 
gently inflated, with a well-defined part about three-fifths of 
an inch in diameter, serving as a crop. Aristotle says that 
some birds, such as, for instance, the swallow and the spar- 
row, have neither an oesophagus nor a crop of large diameter, 
but they have a long {iJ.aKp%v) gizzard.! The above statements 
have been selected because they refer to fishes and birds 
easily procurable, and to parts of these which Aristotle could 
have easily examined. One other example, of a different 
kind, will be given. Like nearly all mammals, the lion and 
the wolf have seven cervical vertebrae, but Aristotle says that 
each of these animals has but one bone in its neck, there being 
no separate vertebrae.! It is very likely that, in a case such 
as this, he accepted what had been told him by others. 

The defects thus illustrated, viz., insufiiciency of obser- 
vations and want of a process of verification, explain to some 
extent why Aristotle sometimes failed, but other causes may 
be suggested. He attempted to do too much. In conse- 
quence of the wide range of his researches, not only in the 
domain of Natural Science, but also in other branches of 
knowledge, his work of observing, dissecting, and, to a 
small extent, of experimenting, must have been carried out 
only by very strenuous efforts. He allowed himself no time, 
although he might have had the wish, to make sure of all 

- H. A. ii. c. 9, s. 4. f H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 16. 

\ P. A. iv. c. 10, 686a ; H. A. ii. c. 1, s. 1. 


his ground as he proceeded. He was hke an explorer of a 
new region, who recognizes its mountain ranges, its chief 
plains, its great rivers, and, here and there, some minor 
features which arrest his attention, but who must press 
forward, with no opportunity for tracing a river to its som-ce 
or ascertaining the relative positions and heights of the 
various peaks. "While admitting the importance of obtaining 
a knowledge of the phenomena by observation, he seems to 
have been determined to formulate as many generalized 
statements as possible. He appears to admit this when 
he says that we must try to state what appears to us 
(to psuvofjuvov) , nor should this be considered to be of the nature 
of presumption, but should deserve respect, when anyone, 
having to deal with matters of very great difficulty and 
urged by a desire for investigating philosophy, contents 
himself with shght data.* 

A further cause of failure, closely connected with 
Aristotle's apparent willingness to content himself with slight 
data, and mere approximations to the truth, deserves special 
mention. It is clear that any defect arising from insufficient 
data would have to be remedied in some way, and Aristotle, 
like many other ancient Greek philosophers, sometimes tried 
to do this by relying on certain ideas which were treated by 
him as if they were more authoritative than the data them- 
selves. These ideas were brought forward, often without 
any apparent consideration as to whether or no they were 
relevant to the question at issue, and used in much the same 
way as axioms and postulates are used by geometricians. 
The result was a remarkable mixture of inductive and 
deductive reasoning. 

The arguments which led Aristotle to conclude that there 
could not be a separate void, + and that the blood of the right 
chamber of the heart and of the right side of the body is 
hotter than that of the left,C furnish examples of the defects 
of method caused by the use of ideas of the kind referred to 

Aristotle's arguments against the existence of a separate 
void are too long to be given in full, but the following is an 
epitome of what seem to be the chief parts of them. In a 
void, if this existed, a body could not be in motion, for a 
void, being a mere privation of matter, could not present 
differences of position and direction, such as above and below, 

* De Ccelo, ii. c. 12, 2916. + Physics, iv. c. 8. 

X p. A. ii. c. 2, &48fl, iii. c. 4, 667rt. 




upwards and downwards, and so the upward and downward 
motions natural to bodies could not take place.* Again, if 
bodies of similar shapes pass through a medium, such as air 
or water, then those which have a greater driving-force 
(poTiri) — due to their heaviness, in the case of bodies to which a 
downward motion is natural, or to their lightness, in the case 
of bodies to which an upward motion is natural — will move 
more quickly through the same distance. This ought to 
happen also when the bodies pass through a void, but 
this is impossible, for vv^hat reason is there for the swifter 
motion ? In water or other medium this happens, of 
course, since the heavier bodies, e.g., divide the medium 
more quickly by reason of their greater heaviness. A 
body in motion divides the medium by reason of its shape 
or its driving force {po'^y}), and, when there is no medium, 
all bodies ought to move with equal velocities, but this 
is impossible.! Having thus argued, he says that it is 
clear therefore that there cannot be a separate void 
(}csx,(^pia-ixevov KEv6y).l Without attempting to analyse the 
above arguments any further, it will be evident that the 
introduction of ideas, such as, for instance, that it is 
necessary to distinguish upward and downward directions 
before it can be said that motion is possible, that bodies have 
certain motions natural to them, and that the velocity of a 
body depends on its shape and on its heaviness or lightness, 
qualities considered to be inherent in the body, make it 
impossible to come to any correct conclusions. 

Finally, Aristotle's conclusion that the blood of the right 
chamber of the heart and of the right side of the body is 
hotter than that of the left chamber or side may have been 
based, in part, on observations, for he was aware of differences 
of consistency, turbidity, and temperature in the blood from 
different parts of the same animal. Observations were not 
relied on, however, to any important extent in this instance. 
His arguments in P. A. ii. c. 2, 648a show clearly that his 
conclusion that the blood of the right chamber of the heart 
and of the right side of the body is hotter than that of the 
left chamber or side followed from his idea that the right 
is nobler or more honourable than the left. This idea, it 
will be noticed, has no necessary connection with the ques- 
tion of differences of temperature of the blood in different 
parts of the body. 

■'' Physics, iv. c. 8, ss. 3 and 4. -j Physics, iv. c. 8, ss. 11 and 12. 

I Physics, iv. c. 8, s. 16. 




Aristotle's descriptions and explanations of these three 
classes of phenomena are such that it is proposed to treat 
of them in one and the same chapter. .To treat of them 
separately would erroneously suggest a division such as he 
never effected. At the present time, the subject-matter 
dealt with in this chapter would be properly assigned to the 
sciences of astronomy, meteorology, physical geography, 
and geology. Aristotle's Meteorology and his work on 
the Heavens contain, in fact, much information about the 
heavenly bodies, rainbows, winds, earthquakes, the sea, 
periodical changes of land and sea, and other phenomena, 
but the causes assigned for some of these, and the manner 
in which they are described, show that he did not appreciate 
their true nature. Such want of appreciation may be seen 
from the facts that he considered the Milky Way to be due 
to causes much the same as those by which he believed 
comets to be produced, that both depended on the ascent of 
certain vapours from the Earth, and that earthquakes, 
lightning, and thunder were due to the same general cause 
as winds. His descriptions and explanations, often accom- 
panied by the views of other philosophers, are of historic 
value, and he records some events, such as, for example, 
some appearances of comets, changes in the distribution of 
land and sea, and volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, which 
are very interesting in themselves. 

Inaccurate though his explanations of phenomena often 
are, yet he shows a desire to reason out rather than to guess 
at the causes of such phenomena, and, compared with those 
of his predecessors, his views are generally founded on much 
more carefully considered arguments. 

The fundamental principles on which his arguments 
were based, viz., the formation of terrestrial matter from 
four elements, the natural motions of which were upwards 


from the centre, in the cases of fire and air, and downwards 
towards the centre, in the cases of earth and water, and the 
existence of a fifth element, sether, having a circular motion 
and existing at a great distance from us, vitiated many of 
his results, and sometimes caused him much trouble when 
attempting to show that his results were in accord with the 
phenomena. Examples of this will be seen in his explana- 
tions of falling stars and thunderbolts. 

Many of the problems which Aristotle sought to solve 
would require the use of instruments which he did not 
possess, and, without the aid of these, he could scarcely do 
otherwise than fail. His explanations of celestial, atmo- 
spheric, and terrestrial phenomena are often of a fanciful 
nature and constitute some of his least valuable w^ork. Some 
of the phenomena he records are very interesting, as already 
stated, and, in the following description, his records of this 
kind will be discussed after his opinions on the causes to 
which the phenomena were due have been considered. As 
far as possible, the celestial phenomena will be discussed first, 
then the atmospheric, and, finally, the terrestrial. 

According to Aristotle, there is but one Kosmos or 
Universe; it is spherical in form and finite in magnitude; it 
includes all matter, and outside it there is neither place nor 
time ; it was not generated, neither can it be destroyed ; it 
rotates to the right, and its rotation is uniform. This is an 
epitomized statement of Aristotle's views on the Kosmos, as 
set out at great length in his De Ccelo, i. cc. 5-12, ii. cc. 1, 
4, 5, and 6. Being in the form of a sphere, the Kosmos was 
capable of rotating so as to occupy the same position and 
space at all times. This form was assigned to it because 
the Kosmos is necessarily perfect, and the only perfect 
geometrical figure is the sphere, which Aristotle considered 
to be representative of perfection, uniformity, and eternity. 
He decided that the Kosmos was finite for several reasons, 
one being that there could not be an infinite square, sphere, 
or other geometrical figure,* and he defined the infinite to 
be that of which, taking any part whatever for consideration, 
there is always something beyond, for it is not that beyond 
which nothing exists.! He says that the infinite exists in 
^vvaixi^, i.e., potentially, but this must not be understood to 
mean that the infinite will exist, in the same way as it may 
be said that if a material is capable of existing in the form 

■■'■ De Ccelo, i. c. 5, 2726. f Physics, iii. c. 6, ss. 7 and 8. 


of a statue then it will exist in that form.* The infinite can 
exist only as an object of contemplation, but the capability 
of division without end gives to the potential infinite some 
kind of actual existence.! The upper parts of the Kosmos 
are full of Eether, which is of such a nature that it is always 
moving in a circular path, and, being of this nature, it can- 
not have either heaviness or lightness ; further, it was not 
generated and could not be destroyed, being incapable of 
change, quantitative or qualitative.! It was of this element 
that Aristotle believed the heavenly bodies to consist. § He 
says that some believed that the stars were of fire, but it 
should be understood that they were not, nor were they 
carried round in a medium of fire.H In his De Coelo, ii. cc. 
7 and 8, he speaks of the Sun and Stars being fastened 
{bhhlxzvQs) in the Heavens. This seems at first sight difficult 
to understand, suggesting as it does the necessity of sup- 
porting almost incalculable masses, but Aristotle's assumption, 
previously referred to, that the heavenly bodies are of aether, 
which has neither heaviness nor lightness, would remove 
any difficulty of this kind. His ideas about the fixing of the 
heavenly bodies in the Heavens were borrowed, in part at 
least, from earlier philosophers, especially Pythagoras and 

Beneath the higher parts of the Kosmos, filled with aether, 
was the zone, if it may be so called, of fire, which Aristotle 
supposed to be between the osther and the air, beneath 
which were water and earth. ^ In the zone of fire, however, 
he contemplated the presence of a dry, earthy exhalation, 
to be referred to later, and of air, probably in the same way 
that he recognized the presence of watery vapour in the air. 

Having set out, so far, his views on the stars and other 
heavenly bodies, Aristotle's explanations of the way in which 
the heat and light of these bodies is caused will be considered. 
Many difficulties arise in the mind of anyone reading through 
his statements on this subject, chiefly in his De Coelo, ii. c. 7, 
but his explanation may be expressed as follows : — Obser- 
vations on the motion of missiles show that they become 
highly heated or are even ignited, and, he adds, the air is 
similarly affected. Since, then, heat is produced by the 

''■' Physics, iii. c. 6. s. 2. 

f De Gener. et Corr. i. c. 3, 318a ; MetapJiys. viii. c. G, 10486. 

I De Ccelo, i. c. 2, 2696, i. c. 3, 2696 and 270<z; Meteorol. i. c. 3, s. 4. 

§ Meteorol. i. c. 2, p. 1 ; De Ccelo, ii. c. 7, 289rt; ; De Miindo, c. 2, 392. 

il De Ccelo, ii. c. 7. IT Meteorol. i. c. 3, s. 14 ; De Coelo, ii. c. 4, 287rt. 


friction of bodies in motion, the heavenly bodies moving in 
their respective courses still more readily cause the ignition 
of the air beneath them, this bemg more of the nature of 
fire than is any solid missile. The heavenly bodies them- 
selves are not heated. Where the Sun happens to be fixed 
the heating effects are intense, but, in Meteorol. i. c. 3, s. 21, 
he says that the Sun, which in an especial degree seems to 
be hot, appears to be white and not fiery. It has been 
stated already that he did not believe that the stars were of 
fire, nor that they were carried round in a medium of fire. 
He seems to have believed that they moved in contact with 
the medium oi fire or aii' within their spheres of motion.* 

Such were Aristotle's views. They are difficult to 
understand, not only because they are not explained 
sufficiently fully, but also because they are based, in part at 
least, on fanciful assumptions. It is not clear what was the 
nature of the substance the ignition of which was caused by 
the motion of the heavenly bodies, except that it was 
intermediate between fire or flame and air, like one of the 
substances which Alexander, Simplicius, Philoponus, and 
some other ancient writers identified with Anaximander's 
infinite or primitive matter. His assertion that the Sun 
appears to be white and not fiery is strange, and suggests 
that he had not seen a wliite-hot fire. It will be seen, 
in the discussion on his views on heat phenomena, that he 
greatly underestimated the intensity of heat of an ordinary 
red-hot fire. Again, Aristotle does not satisfactorily explain 
why the heating effect is so intense where the Sun happens 
to be secured. In an attempt to explain this, in Meteorol. 
i. c. 3, s. 20, he says that the motion of the Sun is sufficiently 
rapid and the Sun is near enough to us, for the moving body 
should not be too far away and its motion should be rapid, 
for the heat to be effective. The stars, he says, certainly 
move rapidly, but are too far away, while the Moon is nearer, 
but her motion is slow. The statement that the heavenly 
bodies are not heated would be difficult to understand were 
it not for Aristotle's assumption, already referred to, that the 
heavenly bodies are of aether, which is incapable of change. . 

According to Aristotle the stars are spherical, but they 
neither rotate nor revolve of themselves, being secured in 
the circles of the Heavens, which are rotating.! His opinion 
that the stars are spherical was also held, he says, by others, t 

- De Ccelo, ii. c. 4, 287a, ii, c. 7. 289rt. 

f De Ccelo, ii, c. 8, 2896, and 290a. J De Ccelo, ii. c. 8, 290a. 


That the Moon is spherical is shown, he says, by her phases 
and by solar eclipses.* He says also that the Earth is 
spherical, this being shown by eclipses of the Moon, and 
that geometers had calculated the circumference of the Earth 
to be about forty-six thousand miles, t Other philoso- 
phers, before Aristotle's time, believed that the Earth was 
spherical, e.g., the Pythagoreans, according to Zeller.t In 
opposition to the Pythagoreans and others, he held that 
the Earth was the centre of the Kosmos, and this conclusion 
was based on his assumptions about the nature of the 
elements and their proper motions, for, according to these 
assumptions, motion about a centre, whether a motion of 
rotation or revolution, would not be natural to the Earth or 
any part of it. He decided that the Earth was at rest at 
the centre of the Kosmos, and must necessarily tend to 
that position for several reasons, one being that heavy 
bodies thrown upwards, even to a great height, fall directly 
downwards to the places whence they are thrown, § for he 
considered that the Earth would act like any of its parts. 
Aristotle's belief, previously referred to, that, passing out- 
wards from the centre, earth, water, air, and fire are arranged 
above one another in the order named, seems to be a develop- 
ment of Anaximander's belief that the earth, the air, and an 
envelope of fire, enclosing the whole, were produced by 
successive processes of separation from his fluid primitive 

Before proceeding further with Aristotle's views on the 
Earth and terrestrial phenomena, some of his statements 
about certain celestial and atmospheric phenomena, such 
as falling stars, the Milky Way, and rainbows, will be 

These phenomena, according to Aristotle, have a less 
orderly arrangement than the stars and planets, il The 
explanations he gives to account for the formation of falling 
stars, comets, the Milky Way, and various other kinds of 
luminous and moving appearances in the sky are somewhat 
alike. He bases most of his explanations on an assumed 
ascent of exhalations from the Earth, parts of such exhala- 
tions being afterwards ignited in consequence of the motions 
of the upper regions of the Kosmos. The exhalations were 
supposed to be of two kinds : (1) an essentially watery vapour, 

- De Coelo, ii. c. 11. f De Coelo, ii. c. 14, 2976 and 298a. 

X History of Greek Philosophy, translated by S. F. Alleyne, 1881, 
vol. i. p. 454. § De Coelo, ii. c. 14, 2966. || Meteorol. i. c. 1, s. 2. 


and (2) an essentially dry, smoke-like exhalation from dry 
earth. This ascended higher than the watery vapour, and 
was the one which Aristotle believed to be ignited. The 
modes of arrangement and the sizes of the ignited exhalations 
varied, and various names were given them. Aristotle 
describes some of them. His descriptions are neither full 
nor clear, but he refers to falling stars and, apparently, fiery 
meteors to which he gives the name " aix," i.e., something 
which rushes impetuously, and to blood-red and other flame- 
like appearances, which seem to include auroras.* 

In another passage Aristotle modifies his views on the 
mode of production of falling stars. He was met by the 
difficulty that the downward motions of these bodies were 
not such as might be expected from an ignited exhalation, 
for the natural motion of fire is in an upward direction. To 
overcome this difficulty, he says, in a passage difficult to 
understand, that hot matter is violently pressed out down- 
wards, in consequence of the air being compressed by the 
cold, and thus the motion is more like that of a falling body 
than that of flame, t 

After commenting on the views of Anaxagoras, Demo- 
critus, and others on the nature of comets, Aristotle says that 
the dry and hot exhalations, referred to already, beneath the 
moving parts of the heavens, together with the underlying 
air, are whirled round the Earth, and that whatever they 
meet is ignited, provided it is of the proper constitution, 
a falling star being thereby produced.! Under conditions 
such that the resulting ignited matter becomes compressed 
and burning proceeds for a long time at a steady rate, and 
simultaneously an exhalation of suitable constitution rises 
from below and meets with the burning matter, the falling 
star becomes a comet. § When the ignition occurs in a 
lower region of the Kosmos, a comet appears as a separate 
phenomenon, but if the ignition occurs beneath some star or 
planet, then this becomes a comet. li The first kind of comet 
is probably meant to be one with a conspicuous tail, and 
the second one with a conspicuous nucleus and a tail less 

In order to explain the appearance of the Milky Way, 
Aristotle again made use of his theory of ignited exhalations. 
He believed that if ignition of a dry exhalation beneath a 

* Meteorol. i. c. 4, ss. 5 and 6, and c. 5, s. 1. 

f Ibid. i. c. 4, ss. 7-10. | Ibid. i. c. 7, ss. 1 and 2. 

§ Ibid. i. c. 7, s. 3. || Ibid. i. c. 7, s. 5. 



star could produce a comet, as stated previously, then a 
similar result would be produced beneath the vast number 
of stars vi^hich are collected together in the Milky Way.* 
The milky appearance he considered to be due to the tails, 
apparently coalesced, of the numerous comets or comet-like 
effects thus produced, t 

Amid all these fanciful explanations, it is quite clear 
that Aristotle fully appreciated one fact, viz., the existence 
of numerous stars, many of large size, in the Milky Way. 

He explains the views of other philosophers, viz., the 
Pythagoreans, who believed that the Milky Way was the 
path of the planets, Anaxagoras and Democritus, who held 
that it was the light of certain stars, which, hidden from the 
Sun by the Earth, shone with a light of their own so as to 
produce a milky aspect, and some philosophers who con- 
sidered the Milky Way to be caused by reflection. This, 
he says, was nearly all that had been said by others on this 

Rainbows and what he calls halos, parhelia, and rods or 
streaks of light are, Aristotle says, all caused by anaklasis.% 
Anaklasis means a bending or breaking aside, and, as used 
by Aristotle in his statements about light, a reflection. 

It is not clear that all Aristotle's statements about halos 
relate to the phenomena now called by that name, but most 
of them seem to do so. Halos, white and coloured, have 
been seen about the Sun, the Moon, and the planet Venus, 
when these celestial bodies were shining through cirrus or 
like clouds. These clouds are now believed to contain vast 
numbers of ice crystals, which act like prisms. Those 
crystals which send the maximum amount of light to the 
eye of the observer form a circular ring, and the effect of 
refraction by these is to produce, in the case of a coloured 
halo, a circular spectrum-band with the red on the inner 
side and not on the outer, as in a primary rainbow. 

Aristotle's explanation of the way in which a halo is 
produced has a superficial resemblance to the above, but he 
considers that it is formed when the light of the Sun, the 
Moon, or a bright star or planet, shines through a uniformly 
moist cloud and is reflected by a circular ring of watery 
particles which form part of the cloud, and act like so many 
small mirrors. II He says that the rainbow and the halo 

* Meteorol. i. c. 8, bs. 11 to 13. f Ibid. i. c. 8, s. 20. 

I Ibid. i. c. 8, ss. 4 and 10. § Ibid. iii. c. 2, s. 7. 

II Ibid. iii. c. 2, s. 2, c. 3, ss. 2, and 7 to 9. 


differ in the design (rojxix/a) of their colours,* but he does not 
explain in what way they differ, so that it cannot be said 
that he was aware of the difference between the arrangements 
of the colours, previously referred to, of a primary rainbow 
and a coloured halo. In Meteorol. iii. c. 3, ss. 10 and 11, 
when dealing with the colours of solar halos, he says that 
the mirrors, although severally invisible on account of their 
smallness, are contiguous and form one ring in which the 
Sun is reflected so that a whiteness of the halo is evident. 
He states correctly that halos are less frequently seen about 
the Sun than about the Moon.t 

Aristotle refers, in several passages, to parhelia or mock 
suns, but some of his statements about them are incorrect. 
Like halos, in association with which they are sometimes 
seen, parhelia are caused by refraction of sunlight shining 
through a cirrus or like cloud containing minute ice crystals. 
The parhelia usually occur to the right and left of the Sun, 
at a distance of about 22° therefrom. Aristotle says that 
parhelia are due to reflection of the visual rays from some- 
thing to the Sun,t and, it seems, from Meteorol. iii. c. 6, s. 5, 
that this something is a dense mist or cloud, the watery 
vapour of which is in the act of condensing into raindrops 
and so uniformly constituted as to form, in effect, an even 
mirror reflecting an image of and of the same colour as the 
Sun, the reflection being compared with that which takes 
place at the surface of polished bronze. 

He was aware that the appearance of a parhelion was 
an indication of unsettled weather. § Parhelia are produced, 
according to Aristotle, to the right and left of the Sun, and 
neither above it nor below it, and he adds correctly that 
they are not formed very close to the Sun nor very far 
away. 11 

The appearance and mode of formation of certain streaks 
of coloured light, which Aristotle calls "rods" {pci/3^oi), are 
described by him, but his descriptions are difficult to under- 
stand. The streaks of light are probably those which are 
seen among clouds at sunrise and sunset, producing the 
magnificent colour effects, which are so well known. 

Aristotle says that the " rods " usually appear about 
sunrise and sunset, and always to the right or left of the 

* Meteorol. iii. c. 4, s. 9. -j- Ibid. iii. c. 3, s. 1*2. 

I Ibid. iii. c. 6, s. 1. § Ibid. iii. c. 6, s. 6. 

II Ibid. iii. c. 2, s. 6, iii. c. 6, s. 7. 


Sun.* It is scarcely necessary to say that the streaks of 
light producing colour effects at sunset and sunrise are often 
seen above and below the Sun, as well as to the right and 
left. He seems to have believed that, unlike parhelia, the 
" rods " were caused by reflection of a cloud, probably a 
white one, in certain very watery clouds near the Sun. In 
order to explain his meaning, he refers to the appearance of 
a cloud when seen directly and when seen by reflection in 
water. In the former case, he says, the cloud is quite 
colourless, but, when seen in water, it seems to be full of 
" rods."t Again, in an earlier passage, he says that the 
reflection of the cloud in water is some colom* of the rain- 
bow, for the visual rays being weakened in consequence of 
the reflection, the white is changed to some colour between 
white and black, t 

To give a correct explanation of passages such as these 
does not seem to be possible. The splendid colour effects of 
the Grecian seas may well have excited the imagination and 
given rise to popular beliefs, with which Aristotle would be 
acquainted, but the above passages seem to be the results of 
abstract reasoning. He knew nothing, of course, about the 
composite nature of white light, and was obliged to make 
use of some ingenious assumptions to account for colour 
phenomena. He assumed that minute drops of water, 
acting as mirrors, may be so small as not to reflect the form 
of an object, but colour only, such colour depending, in 
part at least, on the size of the drops. He believed that the 
" rods " appeared when the very watery clouds, referred to 
above, varied in density and content of watery vapour, so 
that the mirrors formed by the minute water drops varied 
in size. Under these conditions, he considered that, in 
accordance with the assumptions set out above, coloured 
streaks of light, e.g., red or yellow, would be produced, for 
he says : — " The ' rods ' are due to the irregularity of the 
mirror, not as regards form but colour." § 

Aristotle's explanations of rainbows, primary and second- 
ary, and their colours are given at great length, chiefly in 
Meteorol. iii. cc. 4 and 5. Compared with most of his 
explanations of other natural phenomena, those of rainbows 
are particularly full, ingenious, and interesting. Read in 
connection, however, with the more important facts about 

=•= Meteorol. iii. c. 2, s. 6, iii. c. 6, s. 7. f Ibid. iii. c. 6, ss. 1 and 2. 
I Ibid. iii. c. 4, s. 23. § Ibid. iii. c. 6, ss. 3 and 4. 


rainbows discovered long after his time by Theodorich and 
De Dominis on the refractions by the raindrops and reflec- 
tions at their surfaces, by Descartes on the concentration of 
the rays of hght in particular directions, and by Newton on 
the differences of refrangibility of different coloured rays, 
Aristotle's explanations are cumbersome and often fanciful. 
It is not easy to understand his meaning, and there are 
indications in his description that he found the explanations 
very difficult. He makes several assumptions, most of them 
faulty, and it is not always clear on which of these assump- 
tions he relies when attempting to explain certain details of 
the phenomena. The following is an epitome of Aristotle's 
views, from which the peculiarities of his explanations, 
referred to above, will be evident. It will also be noticed 
that he speaks of the rays of light being reflected towards 
the object seen. Visual rays, he says, are reflected from all 
smooth surfaces, such as those of water and air, and such 
reflection takes place from compressed air and also from air 
which is not compressed, if the visual rays are weak, just as 
happened in the case of one man whose sight was weak, for 
he always saw an image of himself in front of him, as 
he walked.* The reflection is stronger from water and 
especially from vapour which is just being condensed into 
water, for then each of its parts acts like a mirror, t On 
account of the extreme smallness of such mirrors, however, 
colour only and not form will be seen, but the succession of 
mirrors similarly situated will give a continuous band of 
similar colour. The same reasoning applies to all the 
mirrors, and so a rainbow is formed. I 

Again, a rainbow is caused by the reflection of visual 
rays by a cloud to the Sun, the cloud being dark and the 
visual rays having to extend through a long distance. A 
bright object, however, shining through anything dark or in 
anything dark — for, he adds, it makes no difference which it 
is — is red. In order to exemplify this, he remarks that the 
Sun appears to be red when seen through mist or smoke, 
and that the flame of a fire of green wood appears to be of 
a red colour, by reason of its being seen mingled with a 
large amount of smoke. § He says that this explains why 
one of the colours of the rainbow is red.|| Continuing his 

* Meteorol. iii. c. 4, ss. 2 and 3. f Ibid. iii. c. 4, s. 5. 

I Ibid. iii. c. 4, bs. 6 and 7. ^5 Ibid. iii. c. 4, ss. 9-11. 

II Ibid. iii. c. 4, s. 12. 


explanations, he introduces another idea into his train of 
reasoning, saying that distant objects seem to be darker 
because the visual raj's fail to reach them, or only partially 
do so, or because the rays are weakened by reflection. 
From one or both of these causes, therefore, a bright or 
white object may appear to be of some colour between 
white and black, e.g., light red, greenish yellow, or dark 
blue, which successively approach black. If the visual 
rays are strong, white would be changed to light red ; 
if less strong, white would be changed to greenish yellow ; 
and if weak, it would be changed to dark blue. Now the 
greater the periphery from which the visual rays extend to 
the Sun, the stronger and more concentrated the rays, but 
the outer periphery of the primary rainbow is the greatest, 
and therefore its colour is light red, which is nearest to 
white. Seasoning in the same way, it follows that the 
inner part of the primary rainbow is dark blue, and the 
middle part greenish yellow.* 

Aristotle proceeds to deal with the secondary rainbow 
and says that this also has three colom*s, formed by reflec- 
tion, the inner part of the secondary rainbow being light 
red, the outer part dark blue, and the intermediate part 
greenish yellow. His explanation of this phenomenon is 
meagre and presents many difficulties, but the following 
seems to represent his views. The secondary rainbow has 
its colours duller than those of the primary and also in 
inverse order, compared with those of the primary, for the 
same reason, for the visual rays are weaker because the 
reflections causing the secondary rainbow take place at a 
greater distance than those causing the primary rainbow, 
thus causing the colours to be dull. Again, more rays 
extend to the Sun from the inner part of the secondary, 
which inner part is nearest the observer, like the outer part 
of the primary rainbow. The visual rays, therefore, being 
more numerous and stronger at the inner periphery, its 
colour will be light red, for reasons similar to those given 
when explaining the order of the colours of the primary 
rainbow, and the other colours proceeding radially outwards 
will be greenish yellow and dark blue.t 

It will be evident that his explanations depend on some 
ingenious assumptions, notably that relating to the pro- 
duction of colour-effects by the weakening of the visual 

* MeteoroL iii. c. 4, ss. 20-25. f Ibid. in. c. 4, ss. 30-32. 


rays, but what will, perhaps, cause most surprise is that 
he made such a persistent attempt to explain so difficult a 
series of phenomena. 

Aristotle also discusses the size of the rainbow, and 
makes some very interesting statements about the conditions 
under which it could be seen at Athens. In Meteorol. iii. 
c. 2, s. 3, he says that the arch of the rainbow is never greater 
than a semicircle, and in Meteorol. iii. c. 5, proceeds to give 
a geometrical proof of this. Aristotle's statement is sub- 
stantially correct for an observer on the earth's surface, for 
the effect of refraction in the case of the rainbow is inappre- 
ciable. That the arch is sometimes greater than a semicircle 
is, however, well known, the arch being so when the 
observer is at some high elevation. 

An error, however, occurs in Meteorol. iii. c. 2, s. 3, 
where it is stated that, at sunset and sunrise, the circle of 
the rainbow is least but the arch is greatest, and that, when 
the Sun is high, the arch is less but the circle greater. The 
external radius of the primary rainbow is constant, being 
about 42°, and that of the secondary rainbow is also 
constant, being about 54°. Still, it is clear that Aristotle 
attempted to make observations in a thorough manner, and 
it should be remembered that it was not possible to explain 
the constancy of the angular dimensions of the rainbow 
before Descartes proved that a concentration of the rays 
occurs in certain directions. Aristotle also says, in a passage 
which shows that he was a keen observer, that, after the 
autumnal equinox and during the shorter days, a rainbow is 
possible at all hours, but, in the summer, it is not possible 
about midday.* He probably intended this statement to 
refer to the appearances of rainbows at Athens. He 
attempts to explain it in Meteorol. iii. c. 5, but his explana- 
tion is defective, because he was not in possession of correct 

A straight line from the centre of the Sun to the centre 
of a rainbow passes through the observer's eye, and, there- 
fore, if the Sun is more than 54° above the horizon, not 
even the outer part of a secondary rainbow would be visible 
to an observer at the sea-level at Athens. Referring to 
Fig. 1, it will be seen that, at midday, June 21st, the alti- 
tude of the Sun at Athens = 90°- (38°— 23" 28') - 75° 28', 
the latitude of Athens being 38° and the inclination of the 

'■- Meteorol. iii. c. 2, s. 3. 



ecliptic 23° 28'. Clearly, therefore, a secondary rainbow, 
and still less a primary rainbow, would not be visible about ,j 
midday. At the autumnal equinox (Sept. 21st) it is evident 

FIG. I. 

K^ Sun at 
/ middav June2 

Sun at 


Sept. 21 

Sun at 
any date 
bn the horizon 

'-Dark blue 
' — Light red 

Dark blue 
•- Greenish -yellow 
' — Light red 

that, at midday, the altitude of the Sun at Athens is 52°, 
and some part of a secondary rainbow might be seen, even 
at midday, and part also of a primary rainbow could be seen 
at midday, during the shorter days of the year. It will be 


noticed that, in Fig. 1, the rainbows are shown greatly mag- 
nified and in positions suitable for showing the lifting up of 
a rainbow at Athens at midday, as the year advances. 

Several other interesting statements about rainbows are 
made by Aristotle. He says, for instance, that, in conse- 
quence of the juxtaposition of the light red and greenish 
yellow, an orange colour is seen in some cases,* and that the 
colours of the rainbow, light red, greenish yellow, and dark 
blue, are almost the only ones which painters cannot 
produce by mixing other colours.! 

It is well known that various colours can be produced 
by mixing red, yellow, and blue pigments in suitable pro- 
portions. Aristotle considered the extreme colours of the 
rainbow to be some shade of red and of blue respectively, 
but it is not clear what was the intermediate colour ; some 
passages suggest that it was green, others, like the one cited 
above from Meteorol. iii. c. 2, s. 5, suggest that it was yellow. 
He calls it Trpdaivov, which usually meant leek-green, but it is 
unlikely that he misunderstood what was known by painters 
about the mixing of colours, and, mainly for this reason, it 
has been assumed in this chapter that the intermediate 
colour was some shade of yellow. The colours and their 
arrangement, according to this view, are shown in Fig. 2. 
The colour ^av96v, which Aristotle considered to be due to the 
juxtaposition of coloured lights, viz., greenish yellow and 
light red, is assumed to be orange, a colour which ^av86v 
sometimes denoted. It will be noticed that Aristotle men- 
tions four colours of the rainbow and yet, in some passages, 
says that each rainbow has three colours only. The 
inconsistency is apparent only, for he makes it clear that 
the three colours are those which he considered to be 
due to reflection. The number of colours of the rainbow 
which can be distinguished varies with different observers, 
being usually five, six, seven, or even more. Aristotle 
discusses the possibility of the formation of more than two 
rainbows, but concludes, incorrectly, in Meteorol. iii. c. 4, 
s. 33, that three or more are not produced. With respect 
to lunar rainbows, he says correctly that these are only 
rarely seen, and adds that, during a period of more than 
fifty years, he had known of only two instances.! The 
colours of a lunar rainbow can be seen, but are by no means 

* Meteorol. iii. c. 4. s. 26. f Ibid. iii. c. 2, s. 5. 

I Ibid. iii. c. 2, s. 9. 


conspicuous. Aristotle, however, states that a lunar rainbow 
seems to be quite white.* 

He also refers incidentally to the formation of rainbows 
in spray raised by oars from the sea, or in spray scattered 
by hand away from the sun, but he states incorrectly that, 
in these cases, the colours are more like those seen about 
lamps, there being, apparently, not a light red but a purple 
colour. + 

This represents the main part of Aristotle's descriptions 
of rainbows. Many of his statements are inaccurate, as has 
been mentioned already, but yet none of his work on celes- 
tial, atmospheric, and terrestrial phenomena shows more 
clearly the use of a careful method of inquiry. Further, 
his descriptions of the way in which rainbows and their 
colours are produced serve to illustrate some of the difficult 
passages on light and colour which will be considered in 
Chapter iv. 

Unlike some ancient philosophers, Aristotle did not 
believe that air, when in motion, was wind, while the same 
air, when condensed, was rain.t He believed that rain 
originates from an exhalation, essentially vaporous, and 
wind from another exhalation, essentially dry or smoke-like, 
both being raised by the heat of the Sun and always asso- 
ciated together. § He was influenced by observations show- 
ing that during dry years, when the dry and smoke-like 
exhalation was most abundant, winds were most frequent, 
while the vaporous exhalation was most abundant during wet 
years. II 

Aristotle knew that winds were due to the action of 
solar heat, but beyond this his views on their production 
were untrustworthy. The action of solar heat is to rarefy 
parts of the atmosphere, and the rarefied parts rising 
upwards are replaced, more or less violently, by colder and 
heavier air. These processes, so well-known to result in the 
occurrence of winds, do not seem to have been known to 
Aristotle. He believed that the dry, smoke-like exhalation 
was, as he says in various passages, the origin, nature, or 
substance of winds. Like those of other ancient philo- 
sophers, his ideas about the composition of the atmosphere 
were very crude, and it is difficult to understand what he 
considered the dry, smoke-like exhalation to be, but it is 

* Meteorol. in. c. 4, s. 28. f Ibid. iii. c. 4, ss. 17-19. 

I Ibid. ii. c. 4, s. 7. § Ibid. ii. c. 4. ss. 2-5. 

li Ibid. ii. c. 4. s. 10. 


probable that it was hot air mingled with humic and other 
effluvia rising from the hot earth. It may be mentioned 
here that, in the Aristotelian work, De Mundo, c. 4, 394, it 
is stated that wind is nothing else but a large quantity of 
compressed air in motion. This work was not written by 

His views on the wet or vaporous exhalation are much 
easier to understand, and are set out at great length in 
Meteorol. i. cc. 9-12. He probably did not know that water 
vapour is diffused throughout the atmosphere, but he gives 
a substantially correct explanation of the formation of rain 
and clouds, for he says that the vapour raised by the Sun's 
heat and by any other celestial source of heat is cooled and 
condensed and descends to the earth, and that clouds result 
from a separation of watery vapour from the air.* 

Dew and hoar-frost are formed from watery vapour 
during clear, calm weather, t Hail, he says, is ice, and is 
produced most in spring and autumn, less frequently in 
summer, and seldom in winter.! It is formed in conse- 
quence of a rapid freezing of water separated from the air, 
the freezing being so rapid that the water is converted into 
ice before it reaches the ground. § The freezing is more 
rapid, he says, if the water is warm before freezing com- 
mences. |1 Some examples of this, which Aristotle records, 
will be considered in Chapter iv. Up till his own time, 
Aristotle says, three different views about the causes of 
earthquakes had been put forth. 1l According to him, 
Anaxagoras believed that they were caused by the aether of 
the upper regions bursting into the under parts and hollows of 
the Earth.** Democritus assumed that the Earth, already 
saturated with water and, in addition, receiving quantities of 
rain-water, became shaken thereby.! t Anaximenes believed 
that the Earth was shaken by masses falling in, such masses 
having been broken away during a process of drying the 
Earth, which he assumed to be quite moist. 1 1 

Setting forth his own views on earthquakes, Aristotle 
says that the Earth of itself is dry, but, on account of the 
rains, becomes moist, so that, being subjected to the action 
of the Sun's heat and its own internal heat, a large quantity 

* Meteorol. i. c. 9, ss. 2-4. ' f Ihld. i. c. 10, s. 4. 

\ Ibid. i. c. 12, s. 1. § Ibid. i. c. 12, ss. 13 and 14. 

II Ibid. i. c. 12, s. 17. ^f Ibid. ii. c. 7, s. 1. 

** Ibid. ii. c. 7, s. 2. ft Ibid. ii. c. 7, s. 6. 

II Ibid. ii. c. 7, 6. 6. 


of a spirituous vapour {'nvzuiMx) is generated both without and 
within it, and this vapour flows sometimes into and some- 
times out of the Earth.* To this vapour he attributes 
certain properties, viz., an excessive degree of mobihty, a 
very rapid inherent velocity, and great tenuity and conse- 
quent penetrating power, t Neither water nor earth, he 
says, is a cause of earthquakes, but spirituous vapour in 
motion, when that which has been given off outwards 
happens to flow inwards, and, for this reason, earthquakes 
are more frequent and violent during calm weather, t In a 
more intelligible passage, he says that earthquakes are due 
to violent movements of spirituous vapour {Trvsuixa) or wind 
{oLvzixos) in the interior of the Earth, such vapour or wind 
sometimes issuing forth like a hurricane. § 

By comparing the dates of recorded earthquakes in 
Britain, France, Switzerland, and other countries, it has 
been concluded that earthquakes are more frequent in winter 
than in summer. According to Aristotle, they were more 
frequent in spring and autumn, because these seasons 
favoured the generation of the spirituous vapour ; summer 
and winter, on the other hand, were rather periods of rest, 
the one because of its heat, and the other because of its 
frost. II He also concluded that earthquakes were usually 
more frequent and violent by night than by day. IT 

The violence of earthquakes, in so far as it is manifested 
in the destruction due to them, depends in no small degree 
on the character of the geological formations of the area of 
disturbance. Aristotle believed that earthquakes were more 
violent and also more frequent in districts where the land 
was porous or cavernous, or where the coast was much 
broken,** He instances the Hellespontine territory, Achaia, 
Sicily, and Eubcea, where the sea appeared to flow into 
narrow passages under the earth. 1 1 

It has been stated already that Aristotle's views on the 
natural motions of the elements, fire, air, water, and earth 
sometimes caused him trouble when he attempted to show 
that his explanations were in agreement with the phenomena 
he tried to explain. His explanation of the phenomena of 
tempests, thunder, and lightning serves as an example. In 
some difficult passages in Meteorol. ii. c. 9, ss. 2 and 3, he 

■'- Meteorol. ii. c. 8, s. 1. f Ihid. ii. c. 8, s. 3. 

X Ihid. ii. c. 8, s. 4. § Ihid. ii. c. 8, ss. 18 and 19. 

II Ihid. ii. c. 8, ss. 11 and 12. II Ihid. ii. c. 8, s. 6. 

** Ihid. ii. c. 8, s. 8. | f Ihid, ii. c. 8, s. 9, 


seems to say that, during the formation of a cloud by the 
coming together of the ascending vaporous and dry 
exhalations, the upper part of the cloud, being cooled more 
rapidly than the rest, is thicker or heavier. Wherefore, he 
concludes, thunderbolts, lightning, and tempests, and every- 
thing of this kind, travel downwards, although heat naturally 
travels upwards.* Whatever amount of the dry exhalation, 
he says, is enclosed within the clouds, during the process of 
ascent and cooling, is separated when the clouds meet and, 
being carried along and striking violently against neigh- 
bouring clouds, this exhalation gives rise to a shock, the 
noise of which is called thunder.! Aristotle proceeds to say 
that the spirituous vapour itself, which has thus been 
pressed out or separated, is generally burnt with a slight or 
weak burning and is what is called lightning, | Here again 
he fails to appreciate the intensely hot nature of a white-hot 
body, compared with that of a red-hot body. Aristotle con- 
cluded that lightning was produced after both the shock and 
the accompanying thunder. He correctly states, however, 
that the lightning is seen before the thunder is heard, because 
sight is quicker than hearing, just as can be seen in the row- 
ing of triremes, for at the moment when the oars are raised 
the sound of the preceding splash of the oars is heard. § 

Aristotle sums up his views on the causes of winds, 
earthquakes, lightning, and thunder towards the end of 
Meteorol. ii. c. 9, where he says that they are all essentially 
the same, viz., a dry exhalation which produces earthquakes 
when operating within the Earth, winds when operating 
about the surface of the Earth, and lightning and thunder 
when operating among the clouds. ll 

He discusses at great length the saltness of the sea. 
Some philosophers, he says, believed that the sea was pro- 
duced originally in the following manner : — The whole space 
about the earth was water which, being dried by the heat of 
the Sun, gave off vapours from which winds were generated, 
the residual water forming the sea. They believed, there- 
fore, that the sea was becoming less and less, and would 
ultimately become quite dry. They were led to this con- 
clusion, according to Aristotle, by observing that many 
places were drier in their time than they formerly were.^ 
He treats with contempt the opinion of Empedocles and 

'■^' Meteorol. ii. c. 9, s. 4. f Ihid. ii. c. 9, s. 5. 

I Ibid. ii. c. 9, s. 8. 5 Ihid. ii. c. 9, s. 9. 

II Ihid. ii. c. 9, s. 21. *f Ihid. ii. c. 1, s. 3, ii. c. 3, s. 7. 


others that the sea is a sweat of the Earth, resulting from 
the heating of the Earth by the Sim.* Some said, according 
to Aristotle, that, just as water percolating through ashes 
becomes salt, so in the same way the sea was salt in conse- 
quence of a mixture therewith of earthy substances.! They 
were of opinion that rivers flowing into the sea carried into 
it many earthy substances having various flavours, and, by 
mingling with the sea-water, caused it to be salt.t This 
explanation was rejected by Aristotle on the ground that, 
if it were true, the rivers ought to be salt.§ 

When giving his own views explaining why the sea is 
salt and why it remains so, Aristotle shows very clearly that 
he was aware of the vast amount of evaporation due to the 
solar heat, that it was fresh water which was thus raised 
into the atmosphere, the salt water being left behind, and 
that all this fresh water ultimately condensed and descended 
to the earth or the sea. He knew also that the quantity 
which descended varied in different places and at different 
seasons, but he clearly asserts that, during certain definite 
periods, all the evaporated water descended again. 1! 

After making many other statements, many of which are 
uninteresting or apparently valueless, he says that, with 
respect to the cause of the saltness of the sea, it is clear 
from many indications that such saltness is due to a mixture 
of something with the water. ^ Among the indications 
which he gives, the following are worth reciting: — (1) water 
which has percolated through the walls of a completely 
closed wax vessel, immersed in the sea, is found to be fresh 
or potable ; (2) the thickness or density of sea- water is so 
much greater than that of river-water that merchant ships, 
similarly laden, almost sink in the former but float in the 
latter at a depth convenient for sailing ; and (3) eggs, even 
when full, float in water made very salt by mixing saline 
substances with it.** 

Aristotle, having proceeded so far, might perhaps 
reasonably have been expected to conclude that the some- 
thing mixed with the water of the sea was some saline 
substance, but nowhere does he appear to do so. The 
substance which he decided was mixed with the water was 
that peculiar one, the dry exhalation, referred to so often 
already. He says that some believed that the sea was 

* Meteorol. ii. c. 1, s. 4, ii. c. 3, s. 12. | Ibid. ii. c. 1, s. 5. 

I Ibid. ii. c. 3, s. 10. § Ibid. || Ibid. ii. c. 2, ss. 12-14. 

IT Ibid. ii. c. 3, ss. 22 and 35. ** Ibid. ii. c. 3, ss. 35-38. 


generated from burnt earth, but that this was absurd, 
although it was true that the saltness of the sea was pro- 
duced from something of this kind. His own explanation, 
which is difficult to follow, seems to be that dry and earthy 
exhalations were mixed in some way with rains and im- 
parted a saltness to them.* Southerly winds and the first 
autumnal rains, he says, are especially salt, for the southerly 
winds blow from dry and hot places and so contain little 
moisture but a large quantity of the dry exhalation to which 
the saltness is due.f Aristotle had evidently noticed that 
winds blowing from Africa and across the sea to Greece 
were salty near the coast. That this saltness was due to 
the presence of particles of salt and fine sea spray he does 
not seem to have known. He considered it rather as a 
proof of the presence of the dry exhalation to which he 
decided that the saltness was due. There is a fatal objection 
to Aristotle's explanation, viz., that, if it were true, the 
rivers also ought to be salty. Olympiodorus, who wrote a 
commentary on the Meteorology, deals with this objection 
in a fanciful way, and argues that, in order that a mingling 
of the exhalation with water may take place, the water 
ought to be at rest and not constantly flowing like that of 
rivers, and, furthermore, that the exhalation always tends 
towards the sea, which is lower than the rivers. X 

Aristotle's views, or modifications of them, were gener- 
ally accepted until the middle of the seventeenth century. 
Boyle says that the Aristotelians of his time derived the 
saltness of the sea from the strong action of the sun's rays 
on the water, and he also says : " But some of the cham- 
pions of Aristotle's opinion are so bold as to allege experience 
for it, vouching the testimony of Scaliger to prove that the 
sea tastes salter at the top than at the bottom, where the 
water is affirmed to be fresh. § The Aristotelians thus 
misrepresented Aristotle, who distinctly asserts, in Meteorol. 
ii. c. 2, that the salt water sinks because of its heaviness, 
while fresh water is borne upwards. Theophrastus did not 
accept Aristotle's explanation, for, according to Olympio- 
dorus, || he believed that the saltness of the sea was due to 
exhalations from the earthy bed of the sea. 

When dealing with the phenomena of relative changes 

* Meteorol. ii. c. 3, ss. 24 and 25. f Ibid. ii. c. 3, ss. 26 and 27. 
X In Meteora Arist. Comment., edit. J. B. Camotius, Venice, 1567, p. 61. 
§ The Works of the Honourable Robert Boyle, new edition, London, 
1772, vol. iii. p. 765. || Op. cit. p. 60. 


of land and sea Aristotle dissents from those philosophers 
who believed that such changes were due to a continuous 
diminution of the sea or to changes of the Kosmos. It 
would be absurd, he says, to move the Kosmos for the sake 
of what are, after all, only small and temporary changes. 
They also say, he asserts, that the sea becomes less, in 
consequence of its being in process of drying up, for more 
places appear to be dry than there used to be, but if they 
had extended the range of their observations, they would 
have found that, in some cases, the sea had encroached on 
the land.* 

It should be considered, he says, that these relative 
changes of land and sea take place in some kind of order 
and according to a kind of cycle, and that, just like plants 
and animals, the inner parts of the Earth have their prime 
and decay, with this difference that, while a plant or animal, 
as a whole, has its prime and old age, the Earth itself has 
not, but only its parts.! He decided that the relative 
changes took place through the occurrence, during a very 
long period, of seasons of excessive rainfall, just as, in 
Greece, winter with its heavy rains occurred yearly, but 
these supposed seasons of excessive rainfall did not always 
happen in the same regions, and might be quite local, just 
as the deluge of Deucalion took place chiefly about Dodona 
and the region of the Achelous.t Such periodical increase 
in the rainfall and, consequently, in the quantity of water 
flowing into the sea, caused the sea to encroach on the land, 
while a diminution of rainfall resulted in a retirement of the 
sea. He does not suggest that the relative changes of land 
and sea were due to movements of the land, although he 
gives instances of some of the effects of earthquakes. 

Aristotle proceeds to show, in several eloquent passages, 
that these changes were part of the ordinary course of 
Nature. The Kosmos, he says, is indestructible and yet 
undergoes changes, so that it follows that the same parts of 
the Earth will not always be land or always covered by seas 
or rivers. § Events prove this, for the whole country of the 
Egyptians seems to be the work of the Nile, and Lake 
Moeotis [Sea of Azov] is in process of being silted up.|| "It 
is evident, therefore, since Time fails not and the Universe 
is eternal, that neither the river Tanais nor the Nile has 

* Meteorol. i. c. 14, ss. 17-19. \ Ibid. i. c. 14, ss. 2 and 3. 

\ Ibid. i. c. 14, ss. 20-22. § Ibid. i. c. 14, s. 25. 

II Ibid. i. c. 14, ss. 26 and 29. 


always flowed, but there was a time when the places where 
they flow were dry, for their work has an end but Time has 
none." * He concludes that rivers are produced and destroyed, 
that the same regions of the Earth are not always the same, 
land or sea, as the case may be, and that everything changes 
in course of time.t 

In Meteorol. iii. c. 7, Aristotle treats of materials found 
beneath the surface of the Earth. He says that, just as 
there are two exhalations, the vaporous and the dry or smoke- 
like, so also there are two kinds of substances in the Earth 
itself. The first kind includes those substances which are 
merely dug out of the Earth and have been formed as a 
result of "complete burning" of the dry exhalation, e.g., 
infusible kinds of stones and realgar, red and yellow ochres, 
sulphur, and the like ; substances of this kind are generally 
stones or coloured powders. The second kind includes those 
obtained by regular mining operations, and are produced, in 
some way, from the vaporous exhalation, e.g., fusible or 
malleable substances, like gold, iron, and bronze, t By iron 
and bronze, Aristotle clearly means the ores from which 
this metal and alloy are respectively obtained ; in Meteorol. 
iv. c. 6, he incidentally gives some account, to be discussed 
later, of iron and its conversion into steel. 

The distinction made between the different kinds of 
mineral substances, in Meteorol. iii. c. 7, is almost equivalent 
to the recognition of a class of ores and another of metals. 
Aristotle's coloured powders or pigments include some ores, 
e.g., the ochres include oxide of iron and red lead, and 
realgar (red sulphide of arsenic, the Sandarache of the 
ancient Greeks) is an ore of arsenic. All these pigments 
were well known to the ancient Greeks. 

Aristotle attempts to explain the production of gold and 
other metallic deposits in the earth. His explanation is by 
no means clear, but he seems to mean that the vaporous 
exhalation, enclosed more particularly in rocks, is compressed 
and solidified and appears as a separate body, like dew or 
hoar-frost. The metallic substances exist before the con- 
densation takes place. All, except gold, can be affected by 
the action of fire and contain earth, for they contain a dry 
exhalation. § This shows, as far as it can be understood, 
that he believed that the vaporous exhalations from which 

* Meteorol. i. c. 14, s. 31. f Ibid, i c. 14, b. 32. 

I Ibid. iii. c. 7. § Ibid. iii. c. 7, 



metalliferous substances, except gold, are produced, contain 
some earthy substance. Aristotle's explanation of the pro- 
duction of metallic substances does not show how the gold, 
&c., was supposed to exist in the vaporous exhalation, but 
his explanation resembles, in a crude way, one of the modern 
views of the formation of metalliferous veins by the deposition 
of metalliferous substances from very hot steam ascending 
through fissures in the crust of the Earth. 

At the end of Meteorol. iii. c. 7, Aristotle says that each 
kind of mineral substance should be described separately. 
It is said that the alchemists used to refer to a work dealing 
with the transmutation of metals, and that they assigned 
this work to Aristotle. It seems to be very unlikely that 
Aristotle wrote a separate work on metals or mineral sub- 
stances. There appears to be nothing in Olympiodorus to 
show that such a work was written. Theophrastus wrote a 
separate work, entitled O71 Stones, in which he practically 
accepts Aristotle's division of mineral substances and their 
production from exhalations, but the rest of the work 
suggests very little that can be traced to Aristotle, who, 
moreover, is not even mentioned by name. 

Having described Aristotle's explanations of many celes- 
tial, atmospheric, and terrestrial phenomena, it remains to 
describe the most interesting parts of his work on these 
phenomena, viz., his numerous records of the phenomena 
themselves. In what follows, the records of celestial 
phenomena will be described first, then the records of 
atmospheric, and, finally, those of terrestrial phenomena. 

In the year B.C. 373, Aristotle saw a great comet which 
appeared in the west on a clear, frosty evening in winter, 
when Aristaeus [Asteus] was archon. It set before the sun 
on the first evening, but was well seen on the next evening, 
although it set quickly. Its tail extended as far as the Belt 
of Orion, and there faded away. This tail appeared as a 
well-defined track, whence it was called a *' road."* 

According to von Humboldt, t this comet was believed by 
von Boguslawski to have been the same as the comets of 1843, 
1695, 1548, and 1401, with a period of one hundred and 
forty-seven years. Von Boguslawski, in fact, called that of 
1843 the Comet of Aristotle, which he traced back to the 
year B.C. 371. It may be mentioned that the comet of 1843 
was very brilliant. 

=•'■ Meteorol. i. c. 6, ss. B and 10. 

f Cosmos, Bohn's Library, 1849-1868, vol. ii. p. 526, and vol. iv. p. 541. 


When Eucleus, son of Molon, was archon, a comet ap- 
peared towards the north, during the early part of January.* 
The date of appearance of this comet is beheved to have 
been about B.C. 350. 

Aristotle also says that, when Nicomachus was archon, 
a comet was seen for a few days, that it appeared about the 
Equator, and that it did not rise in the evening.! The date 
of appearance of this comet is believed to have been B.C. 340. 

In De Gcelo, ii. c. 12, 292a, Aristotle says that he had 
seen the Moon, when half -full, pass under Mars, which was 
hidden by the dark part of the Moon, and then emerged 
from the bright part. This occultation of Mars by the Moon 
occurred, according to Kepler's reckoning, in B.C. 357. 

In B.C. 467 a large stone is said to have fallen at 
-i^gospotamos. This meteoric stone is mentioned in the 
Parian Chronicle. Aristotle says that this stone fell by day, 
and that in the evening of that day a comet appeared. He 
incorrectly states that the stone had been raised by the wind 
and then fell down, t 

He mentions, as an instance of a rare phenomenon, that 
in the region of the Bosphorus two parhelia rose together 
with the sun and continued to be seen until sunset. § 
Ideler makes a reasonable suggestion to explain how such 
a report arose, saying that the ancient Greeks used to relate 
extraordinary phenomena as taking place in the Bosphorus, 
Black Sea, and Africa, just as modern writers have given 
accounts of extraordinary phenomena in America and 
Siberia. II 

Aristotle gives some interesting information about some 
of the periodic winds of Greece. The Etesian winds, he 
says, blow from the north after the summer solstice and the 
rising of the Dog Star, and they blow by day but cease at 
night. ^ Some were at a loss to understand why the 
Etesians, continuous north winds, blew after the summer 
solstice, while south winds were not produced similarly after 
the winter solstice, but this, he says, is not reasonable, for 
the so-called Leuconoti, although they do not blow con- 
tinuously, blow at the season of the year opposite to that at 
which the Etesians blow.** Early in spring, according to 
Aristotle, the Ornithiae blow ; these winds are gentler than 

* Meteorol. i. c. 6, s. 8. f Ibid. i. c. 7, s. 10. 

I Ibid, i c. 7, s. 9. § Ibid. iii. c. 2, s. 6. 

II Aristot. Meteorol., Leipzig, 1836, vol. ii. pp. 271, 272. 

11 Meteorol. ii. c. 5, ss. 5 and 7. '•=* Ibid. ii. c. 5, s. 7. 



the Etesians, and do not blow continuously.* These winds 
were called Ornithiae because they blew when birds were 
mating, or because migratory birds arrived with them in 

In Meteorol. ii. c. 6, Aristotle gives directions for drawing 
a diagram showing the quarters from which the chief and 

FIG. 3. 

Boreas and Aparctias 


Argestes "j 
Olympias > Fj 

Zephyros W 

Lips G 



best defined winds blew. Fig. 3 has been drawn according 
to these directions, Z being the position of the rising sun in 
midsummer, F that of the setting sun in midsummer, D that 
of the rising sun in midwinter, and G that of the setting sun 
in midwinter. I is half-way between due north and F, and 
K is half-way between due north and Z. Athens is supposed 

'''• Meteorol. ii. c. 5, s. 9. 


to be at the centre of the circle. The names of the winds 
are indicated on the drawing. Aristotle says that the wind 
called Meses had no wind diametrically opposite to it, nor 
had the wind Thraskias, unless a certain wind, called Phoi- 
nikias, were considered to be its opposite. This wind was 
so called because it was believed to blow from Phoenicia. 

An account of the nature of these winds is also given by 
Aristotle. He says that Lips, Kaikias, and Apeliotes were 
wet winds, while Euros was dry at first but ultimately became 
wet. Kaikias and, to a less extent, Lips were associated 
with a cloudy sky. Argestes was a dry wind. Meses and 
Aparctias were very cold winds and brought a great deal of 
snow, and there was much lightning when Meses was blow- 
ing. Aparctias, Thraskias, and Argestes blew when the sky 
was clear, but brought hail, lightning, and gales. Finally, 
Notos, Zephyros, and Euros were hot winds.* 

During most of the hot or dry season, in many parts of 
Greece, northerly winds, called Etesians, blow by day until 
about sunset, when winds set in from an opposite direction, 
and, at Corinth, there is an alternation of easterly and 
westerly winds which is so regular that Strabo compared it 
to the breathing of an animal. The idea that a wind blow- 
ing in one direction has a counterpart in one blowing in an 
opposite direction is, therefore, natural to a Greek, but 
Aristotle seems to carry this idea further than is true for any 
one locality. My knowledge of the meteorology of Greece, 
derived chiefly from Reclus, modern books of travels, and 
notes sent me by Mr. W. R. Halliday, from the British 
School at Athens, is not sufficient to enable me to discuss 
fully Aristotle's numerous statements about the winds and 
weather of Greece. 

The northerly winds of Greece are usually very dry and 
the southerly winds wet. The Sirokos or Scirocco, which 
seems to be the same as the ancient Euros, is a S.E. wind, 
moist, hot and oppressive. Another oppressive wind is the 
Austral, which blows from the south and may be Aristotle's 
Notos. In the Cyclades, steady north winds usually make 
the early months of the year cold,t and Mr. Halliday says 
that at Melos certainly Boreas prevailed until well after the 
Greek Easter this year (1911). Aristotle says that Zephyros 
is a hot wind. In his note Mr. Halliday says : — '* Just 
lately [early part of June, 1911] I have been suffering from 

- Meteorol. ii. c. 6, ss. 19-22. f Bent's Cyclades, p. 57. 


the west wind, not only unpleasantly hot but also apparently 
possessed of the property of rousing insect life to activity. 
At least, the common house fly drew blood through my thick 
stockings, and when I complained I was told that it was due 
to the wind." 

Aristotle makes assertions, some of which were evidently 
mere guesses, about the depths of various seas. He says 
that the Pontus is deeper than the Moeotis (now called the 
Sea of Azov), that the ^gean is deeper than the Pontus, 
that the Sicilian is deeper than the ^gean, that the Sardonic 
and Tyrrhenian seas are deeper than any of these, and that 
the waters beyond the Pillars of Hercules are of small 
volume because of the mud, and are undisturbed by 

The Sea of Azov is said to be not deeper than eight 
fathoms, and has long been known to be very shallow, 
Aristotle says that it had been silted up to sach an extent 
that the ships which sailed on it in his time were much 
smaller than those which sailed on it sixty years before.! 
The silting-up process still goes on and Aristotle's statement 
is probably correct. I do not know whether the ^gean is 
deeper than the Pontus or Black Sea, but Aristotle correctly 
states that the Sicilian, by which he probably meant the sea 
between Sicily, Greece, and Crete, is deeper than the ^gean. 
Eespecting the other seas mentioned by him, his statements 
are incorrect. Comparatively recent soundings show that, 
although the average depth of the eastern Mediterranean 
is only a few fathoms greater than that of the western 
Mediterranean, yet the maximum recorded sounding in the 
former is about four hundred fathoms greater than the 
maximum recorded sounding in the latter. The maximum 
sounding in the eastern Mediterranean is not less than two 
thousand four hundred fathoms, to the S.W. of Cape 
Matapan and therefore in a part of Aristotle's Sicilian Sea. 
His statement about the waters beyond the Pillars of 
Hercules is obviously derived from the famous legend of a 
sunken Atlantis, related by Plato in the Timaeus, and needs 
no further comment. When arguing that sea water con- 
tains a large quantity of earthy matters to which the saltness 
and bitterness of the water are due, Aristotle refers to the 
Dead Sea, saying that if, according to the tales which some 
narrate, there is a lake in Palestine of such a kind that a 

* Meteorol. ii. c. 1, ss. 13 and 14. f Ibid. i. c. 14, s. 29. 


man or beast of burden would not sink beneath its waters, 
then this would be evidence for what he had said, and he 
adds that, according to report, the waters of the lake are so 
sharp and bitter that no fishes are found in them, and that, 
by merely dipping clothes into its waters and then shaking 
them, the clothes are washed.* These reports, which he was 
evidently reluctant to believe, were much more reliable than 
he thought them to be. 

In Chaonia, Aristotle says, a spring of rather salt water 
rises and flows into a neighbouring river, t Eeferences are 
also made to streams of acid water in the Sicanian territory 
of Sicily, and near Lyncus, and to bitter waters in Scythia ; 
Aristotle also says that, from the waters of Sicania, a sauce 
was made and used just like vinegar, t 

Chaonia was a large district in Epirus, extending from the 
Acroceraunian promontory on the north towards the Acheron 
on the south. The spring to which Aristotle refers may be 
a source of the river Cocytus, a tributary of the Acheron. 
The modern name of the Cocytus is Vuvo, the waters of 
which are said to be unfit for drinking purposes. Sicania 
was the district about Agrigentum in the south of Sicily, 
and in this part of the island there are many salt springs, 
the waters from which flow into the Platini and Fiume 
Salso, which are the modern representatives of the ancient 
rivers Halycus and Himera, respectively. Lyncus was in 
Lyncestis, a district of Macedonia near the Illyrian frontier. 
At or near the modern Banitza are the acid waters of Lyn- 
cus, which were said to have had intoxicating qualities. § It 
is impossible to identify the bitter waters of Scythia, referred 
to by Aristotle. Scythia was a territory of vast extent, 
including most of southern Russia, and its boundaries were 
indefinite and changed from time to time. 

In his Meteorol. i. c. 13, Aristotle gives an interesting 
account of the chief mountains, rivers, lakes, and seas of the 
ancient World, and this account represents probably all that 
was best of the geographical knowledge of his time. His 
own travels were confined mainly, and perhaps entirely, to 
southern Macedonia, Attica, Eubcea, Lesbos, and Mysia, and 
he was dependent, therefore, on those who, like Hecatseus 
and Herodotus, had visited many lands. The World which 
he describes extended from the Hindoo Koosh and the Indus 

"I- Meteorol. ii. c. 3, s. 39. f Ibid. ii. c. 3, s. 40. 

I Ihid. ii. c. 3, ss. 4G and 47. § Smith's Diet, of Classic, Oeogr. 


on the east to the Atlantic on the west, and from the 
northern parts of Europe on the north to the sources of the 
Nile on the south. In whatever direction his ancient World 
is traced, it may be said to be distorted in proportion to its 
distance from Athens. 

He had an exaggerated idea of the height of the Hindoo 
Koosh or Paropamisus Mountains, which he called the 
Parnasos, for he says that the apparently boundless ocean 
could be seen from them. Certain large rivers, he says, flow 
from them, e.g., the Bactrus, Choaspes, Indus, and Araxes, 
by which he seems to mean the Oxus. The largest of these, 
he says, is the Indus. He gives no indication that he had 
any knowledge of the Ganges. He knew that the Tanais, 
now called the Don, flows into the Sea of Azov, but his 
knowledge of that river was very imperfect, for he believed 
that it was connected with the Araxes. 

His description of the regions of the Caucasus is pictur- 
esque and interesting. He speaks of the massiveness and 
great height of the mountains, the many races living among 
them, and the large lakes of the Caucasus regions. His 
ideas about the height of the Caucasus Mountains were 
greatly exaggerated, for he says that their summits could be 
seen illuminated by the sun for a third part of the night, 
both before sunrise and after sunset. 

Passing to the west of his ancient World, he states 
incorrectly that the Danube rises in the Pyrenees, and he 
also says that the Tartessus, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, 
rises in the Pyrenees. This river cannot be identified 
satisfactorily, but it is probable that the Guadalquiver is 
meant, or it may be the Guadiana or the Tagus, not one of 
which, however, rises in the Pyrenees. 

In the north, he says, many rivers flow from the 
Arcynian Mountains, which are the most massive and 
highest mountains in that region. He seems to have been 
the first to mention those mountains, which are usually 
considered to be the Harz and the Erzgebirge, but Aristotle's 
Arcynian Mountains probably included the Alps also. He 
speaks also of the so-called Ehipsean Mountains, of vast 
size, and situated beyond the farthest parts of Scythia, 
Aristotle's description of the Ehipsean Mountains would 
apply fairly well to the Ural Mountains, but J. Barthelemy 
Saint-Hilaire says that they were perhaps the Carpathians. 

In the south of his ancient World, he mentions several 
large African rivers, the ^gon, Nyses, and Chremetes, 


which cannot be identified, and states that the Nile rises in 
the so-called Silver Mountains. 

The question of the position of the source of the Nile 
was discussed by many of the ancient writers, especially 
Hecataeus, Herodotus, Hipparchus, and Ptolemy, and it 
came to be believed that it lay among the so-called Mountains 
of the Moon, the locality of which was shifted from time to 
time, until Stanley identified them with the great Kuwenzori 
Mountains, westwards of the Victoria Nyanza. 

After referring to several well-known rivers of Greece, 
Macedonia, and Thrace, and to streams in Arcadia which 
disappeared underground, Aristotle gives some interesting 
information about the Caspian Sea. He says that, at the 
foot of the Caucasus, is a lake which the people near it call 
a sea, that it has no evident outlet, and that it empties 
itself underground at Coraxi into the Black Sea, near the 
so-called " deeps," which had not been fathomed. Here, 
according to him, at a distance of about thirty-five miles 
from land, the sea yields fresh water in three places. 

It is evident that Aristotle understood that the Caspian 
was a large inland sea. After the campaigns of Alexander, 
many believed that it communicated with an ocean to the 
north, and von Humboldt, commenting on this view, says 
that, fortunately, Aristotle wrote his MeteorologT/ before 
those campaigns, for the Macedonian expedition gave rise 
to some errors which long held their ground.* 

Kespecting the belief, expressed by Aristotle, about an 
underground connection between the Caspian and the Black 
Sea, some interesting information is given by Keclus. Ac- 
cording to him, navigators of the Caspian and the Turkoman 
nomads who wander on its shores have been astonished at 
the river of salt water which constantly flows through a 
narrow channel into the Karaboghaz, which forms a kind of 
inland sea, on its eastern side. In the view of the natives 
this inland sea could be nothing but an abyss, a "black gulf," 
as is expressed by the name Karaboghaz, into which the 
waters of the Caspian dive down in order to flow by sub- 
terranean channels into the Persian Gulf or the Black Sea. 
It is, perhaps, to some vague rumours, Eeclus says, as to the 
existence of the Karaboghaz that we must attribute the 
statement of Aristotle about the strange gulfs in the Black 
Sea in which the waters of the Caspian bubble up after their 

* Cosmos^ Bohn's Library, vol. ii. p. 560. 


long subterranean passage.* The "deeps" referred to by 
Aristotle are in a deep part of the Black Sea, but the deepest 
part of this sea is said to be near its centre. It may be 
mentioned that Herodotus clearly states that the Caspian is 
a sea by itself, having no communication with any other, t 

The above information given by Aristotle about the 
mountains, rivers, lakes, and seas of his ancient World is 
from his Mctcorol. i. c. 13. In his History of Animals he 
gives some interesting information about the reported land 
of the Pigmies. He says that such a race, dwelling in caves, 
actually existed in the upper regions of the Nile, and that 
cranes migrated from Scytliia to the marshy parts of those 
regions. + 

Many ancient writers refer to the Pigmies of inner Africa, 
and Herodotus says that the Nasamonian explorers were 
captured by them and carried across extensive marshes to a 
city near a river running east and west, and containing many 
crocodiles. § It was in the region of the Ituri Eiver, which 
e'xactly answers to this description, that Stanley found a 
race of Pigmies. 

A great deal of interesting information is given by 
Aristotle about changes produced on the Earth's surface by 
various natural agents. These changes include those caused 
by the deposition of mud from rivers, the drying up or the 
formation of swamps, and the destructive effects of volcanic 
eruptions and earthquakes. 

His description of the silting up of the Sea of Azov has 
been discussed in another part of this chapter. Eeferring 
to the Nile delta, he says that all the arms, except the 
Canobic, were made artificially. Egypt itself he considers 
was made habitable by the drying up of the swampy parts 
formed by the deposition of mud in a sea continuous with 
the Red Sea, and he believed that the whole country of 
the Egyptians was the work of the Nile. He states in- 
correctly that the Red Sea was higher than the land about 
the Nile, and says that Sesostris and also Darius, who 
tried to connect the Nile with the Red Sea by excavating 
a channel, found this out and, in consequence, stopped the 
work of excavation.;! 

He says that some places have acquired a more favour- 
able climate through the drying up of swampy parts, while 

* Nouvelle Geographie Universelle, vol. 6, 1881, pp. 422-24. | i. 203. 
X H. A. viii. c. 14, s. 2. ^ ii. c. 32. 

II Meteorol i. c. 14. 'ss. 10-12 and 26-28. 


others have suffered through being dried up too much. 
This happened, he adds, in Greece, for, about the time of 
the Trojan War, Argos was swampy and could support 
only a small population, while Mycenae was prosperous, but 
now it is the other way about, for Mycenae has become quite 
parched, while the lands at Argos, which were formerly 
useless because of their swampiness, are now cultivated.* 

Aristotle records and makes interesting observations 
about several great earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. 
There was, he says, an earthquake in Achaia and an inflow 
of the sea about the time of the great comet, which was 
seen during the archonship of Asteus.t Just lately, he 
says, an earthquake took place at Heraclea, in Pontus, and, 
some time before this, another occurred in the Sacred Isle, 
one of the -^olian Islands. Here, a part of the ground 
swelled up and rose into a hillock, the swelling up being 
accompanied by a great noise, until the hillock burst and a 
great quantity of a spirituous vapour {ttveu/mz) issued forth, 
carrying with it both sparks and ashes. The capital of 
the Liparseans, not far away, was completely burnt, and 
the ashes reached some of the cities of Italy. Even now, 
he says, it can be seen where this eruption took place, t 
It was from observations on eruptions such as this that 
Aristotle concluded that earthquakes and volcanic eruptions 
were due to a violent circulation within, and final discharge 
from, the interior of the Earth of a kind of air, gas, or 
vapour, which he calls " wind " {av£/xo;} in some passages 
and " spirituous vapour " {weuf^a) in others. 

When the spirituous vapour is abundant, he says, a 
lateral tremor of the earth takes place, or, occasionally, 
a vertical pulsation. In this kind of earthquake a large 
quantity of stones comes to the surface, just like anything 
which rises to the top in a winnowing-fan. The parts 
about Sipylus, the Phlegrsean Plain, and the Lygian region 
were overturned by earthquakes of this kind.§ 

He asserts that islands in a deep sea are less liable to 
earthquakes than those situated near land, because of the 
cooling and restraining effect of so large a quantity of sea- 
water on the spirituous vapours or exhalations, and because 
the islands could not be disturbed without the necessity of 
moving the whole of the sea surrounding the islands, ii 

* Meteorol. i. c. 14, ss. 14 and 15. f Ibid. i. c. 6, 8. 8. 
I Ibid. ii. c. 8, ss. 18 and 19. j Ibid. ii. c. 8, ss. 4G and 47. 

i. Ibid. ii. c. 8, ss. 48 and 49. 


Aristotle's seismic records are among the best made by 
ancient writers. Heraclea Pontica, referred to by him, was 
a Greek cobny on the western part of the coast of 
Bithynia. The Lipari Isles were repeatedly affected by 
seismic disturbances in ancient, just as in modern, times, 
but the one recorded by Aristotle was more than usually 
destructive. His description is vivid and interesting, and 
seems to refer to a great eruption of a viscous lava. The 
eruption seems to have been similar in many respects to 
that in the trachytic district of Methana, described by 
Strabo. At Methana, a hill nearly a mile in height was 
raised up, and the force of the eruption was so great that 
blocks of stone as large as towers were ejected.* The 
earthquake at Sipylus, situated in a mountain of that name 
in Lydia, was long remembered by the Ancients, for Sipylus 
is said to have been totally destroyed. 

Aristotle's record of an earthquake in the Lygian region 
is not clear. Von Humboldt says that the region referred 
to is now called La Crau, at the mouth of the Ehone, and 
that the rounded quartz blocks of that region were supposed 
by Aristotle to have been ejected from a fissure, during an 
earthquake, f 

Besides the phenomena already discussed, Aristotle 
incidently refers to several matters of minor importance, such 
as, for example, the weight of air and the existence of red snow. 

In his De Coelo, iv. c. 4, 3116, he says that a bladder, 
when inflated, is heavier than when it is empty. This passage 
suggests that Aristotle actually tried the experiment, but this 
is all that can be said, for he gives no further information. 

Eed snow was known to him, for, inH. A. v. c. 17, s. 12, 
he says that animals are produced in some things which 
seem least liable to putrefaction, such as snow which has 
lain for a long time ; such snow, he adds, is reddish, and, for 
this reason, the larvae of the animals in the snow are red 
and hairy. 

The snow to which Aristotle refers was probably seen by 
him in Macedonia. The redness of snow is caused, as is 
well-known, by the presence of red unicellular plants, 
ProtocoGcm nivalis. It will be noticed that Aristotle did 
not consider that the colour of the snow was due to the 
colour of the animals which he believed were present, but 
that the colour of these was due to the redness of the snow. 

* Geogr. i. c. 3, 8. 18. f Cosmos, Bohii's Library, vol. i. p. 102. 



It is said that, after Aristotle had published a work on 
some esoteric part of his philosophy, Alexander the Great 
wrote to him from Asia complaining of his attempting 
thus to communicate to people generally what had pre- 
viously been imparted to Aristotle's select pupils only. 
Aristotle replied to the effect that no harm could be done 
by the publication complained of, because what he had put 
forth in his lectures on the more abstruse parts of his 
philosophy could be understood only by those who heard 
him and by nobody else. The work referred to is con- 
sidered by some to have been Aristotle's Akroasis Physike, 
commonly called the Physics. The above story may or 
may not be true, but it is undeniable that many parts 
of Aristotle's works on essentially abstruse subjects are very 
difficult to understand, and among such parts are those 
relating to light and colour. 

The history of the development of this branch of human 
knowledge reveals, it is true, many great achievements, but 
it probably reveals many more disappointing failures, and 
little of any practical importance was done until about the 
twelfth century. Successful investigation of phenomena of 
light and colour has been largely the result of careful 
observation and ingenious experiments, and few, if any, 
branches of natural science better exemplify a laborious, 
step by step, advance to the truth. Aristotle's achieve- 
ments, judged by the standard of knowledge in more 
modern times, were of little value, although they must 
have cost him much time and labour, as may be seen from 
his account of the causes of rainbows, already given in 
Chapter iii. 

The ancient emission or corpuscular theory of light held 
by Empedocles, Democritus, and many other ancient philo- 
sophers was rejected by Aristotle. He says that light is 


not fire nor any material substance, nor, consequently, is it 
an emission from a material substance,* and that the theory 
that sight is due to something which issues from the eye, 
and is capable of extending as far as the stars, or, as some 
say, that it is due to something which issues from the eye 
and meets with something issuing from the object, is 
altogether absurd, t Aristotle's own views on the nature 
of light seem to have been as follows : Something which 
he calls the Diaphanous (to ^ia(pu.vk) is present not only in 
air, water, and other transparent substances, but also, in 
varying degrees, in other bodies. It is not capable of 
separate existence, being a kind of property and power 
common to all bodies, and, when excited by the presence in 
it of something of the nature of fire, light is produced, 
while the absence of anything of the nature of fire results 
in darkness.! Light is the energy of the Diaphanous, and 
is, as it were, the colour of the Diaphanous, when this is 
in actual or full existence (£VT£^e%£Ja) through the influence 
of fire or something of this kind, such as, for example, the 
upper body.§ The upper body, referred to here, is the 
Aristotelian asther, which resembles the aether of modern 
scientists in some respects, but is here supposed by Aristotle 
to be an exciting cause of light. 

The Diaphanous was evidently passive, but capable of 
being influenced by fire or something of the nature of fire. 
The relationship between fire or the like and the Dia- 
phanous seems to be like that between form and material, 
as exemplified by a stone statue, for, when the Diaphanous 
is modified by the presence of fire or the like, light is 
produced, while the stone, modified so as to be of a par- 
ticular form, is a statue. 

In an important passage Aristotle says : — " I have stated 
in other books that sight is impossible without light, but 
whether it is light or air which intervenes between the 
object and the eye, it is the motion through this medium 
that causes sight." |i 

This may seem to foreshadow the undulatory theory of 
light. It seems, however, from other passages that the 
motion was not an undulatory one, although he nowhere 
seems to explain what kind of motion he meant. He says 
that odours and sounds travel through a medium before 
they cause sensation, and that Empedocles believed that 

* De Anima, ii. c. 7, 4186. f De Sensu, dc, ii. 438a, I Ibid. in. 439a. 
§ De Anima, ii. c. 7, 4186. || De Sensu, dtc, ii. 4386. 


sunlight had to travel through a medium before it reached 
the eye, but, about light, he adds, a different account must 
be given, for light is due to the existence of something in 
the medium, and is not amotion.* This last statement 
causes some difficulty, because it seems to be inconsistent 
with the passage in De Sensu, d-c, ii. 4386. The word 
Kivrryii, used in De Sensu, dc, vi. 4466, is a general one for 
"motion," and does not give much assistance in ascertaining 
what Aristotle meant. The context, however, indicates 
that the meaning is that light is not due to a motion of 
translation, necessarily taking place during an interval of 
time. In fact, Aristotle says, in De Seiisii, d-c, vi. 441 a, 
that it is reasonable to believe that, when there is a medium 
between a sensory organ and an object of sensation, the 
effects are not all produced on the sensory organ at the 
same time, except in the case of light and sight. 

Aristotle was not the first to introduce the idea of a 
motion of the medium between the eye and the object seen 
by it. Democritus believed that the emanations from the 
object did not reach the eye, but set in motion the inter- 
vening air. 

Like many other ancient philosophers, Aristotle was 
aware that light should be treated as if it were propagated in 
straight lines. Many parts of his descriptions of optical 
phenomena, e.g., rainlDOWs and eclipses, show this, and some 
questions are proposed in the Aristotelian work called the 
Problems, the answers to which depend on the assumption 
that the propagation of light is in straight lines. One of 
these questions is particularly interesting, and asks why sun- 
light shining through apertures bounded by straight lines 
does not form rectilinear images but circular ones. The 
first part of the answer suggests that it may be that the 
light is propagated in conical form and, the base of a cone 
being circular, the images are circular also. Then follows 
an explanation which is quite Aristotelian, and depends on 
an assumed inability of visual rays, which are few and weak, 
to reach the object to be seen ; such an assumption is made 
in other places by Aristotle, particularly in his explanation 
of rainbows. The rays of light, passing through the corners 
of the apertures, being assumed to be few and weak, are not 
effective, but only the rays passing through the central 
parts, these rays being assumed to be numerous and strong ; 

* De Sensu, dc, vi. 446rt and b. 


the images, therefore, appear to have rounded corners.* 
This explanation is fanciful, but the one referring to the 
propagation of light in conical form, although of little value, 
is suggestive, for the true explanation can be obtained by 
drawing a series of co-axial double cones with their apices 
at various points on the sides of the aperture, the Sun's disc 
and its image being the bases of each double cone. The 
overlapping of the separate images of the Sun's disc, thus 
drawn, causes the images formed by the aperture to be 
circular, if the aperture is small, or to have rounded corners, 
if the aperture is large. 

Aristotle was fully aware that reflection takes place from 
mirrors and other smooth surfaces. He often uses the word 
AnaJclasis, a breaking back or aside, to denote this pheno- 
menon, especially in his descriptions of halos and rainbows. 
There does not appear to be any passage in his works, 
however, showing that he was aware of the equality of the 
angles of incidence and reflection. This seems to have been 
stated for the first time in Euclid's Catoptrics, Prop, i., 
where the law is enunciated and proved for plane, convex, 
and concave mirrors. 

He does not use the word Anahlasis or any other word 
in such a way as to show that he was acquainted with the 
phenomenon of refraction, but in Meteorol. iii. c. 4 there 
are some passages which deserve special notice in connection 
with this question. After speaking about the strange optical 
illusion in the case of a man whose sight was very weak and 
who saw an image of himself in consequence of the adjacent 
air acting like a mirror, Aristotle says : — " Wherefore head- 
lands appear inverted in the sea, everything appears larger 
when the easterly winds (eupoi) blow, and also objects seen 
through mists, e.g., the Sun and stars seem to be larger 
when rising or setting than when they are high in the 
heavens." t 

Ideler says that these examples, given by Aristotle, 
pertain not so much to reflection of light as to refraction.! 
This is not so. They pertain mainly to reflection and 
absorption. The phenomena of absorption were only im- 
perfectly understood by Aristotle, but many statements he 
makes about light and colour show that he never lost sight 
of what appeared to be the effects of the medium between 

'■'• Problems, xv. 6. f Meteorol. iii. c. 4, s. 4. 

I Aristot. Meteorol. Leipzig, 1836, vol. ii., p. 20. 


the eye and an object of vision. The inversion of headlands 
in the sea, to which he refers, is probably nothing but that 
produced by reflection at the surface of the water, and is 
intended to show how untrustworthy the sight may be, just 
as in the case of the man who, Aristotle says, saw his own 
image reflected by the air in front of him. 

The observation, that all things seem to be larger when 
easterly winds blow, may refer to the apparent nearness 
which is associated with moist atmospheres. According to 
Aristotle, the easterly winds referred to were hot and, at 
first, dry, but became moist. I have made enquiries, but 
have been unable to ascertain whether such a phenomenon 
occurs at Athens, when easterly winds blow. 

Aristotle's reference to the apparent magnification of 
the sun and stars is correct, but here again the effect is not 
due to refraction. It is now known that there is no mag- 
nification, the result being mainly psychological. Seneca 
attempts to explain the apparent magnification of the sun 
and stars by saying that our sight is not reliable in the case 
of an object seen in water or through a moist medium, for, 
if a ring is thrown into a bowl filled with water, yet, 
although the ring lies at the very bottom of the bowl, its 
image is seen near the top of the water. Whatever, he 
says, is seen through a liquid or moist medium appears to 
be far larger than it really is.* It is evident that Seneca, 
who was well acquainted with Aristotle's works, did not 
understand the phenomena of refraction. He developed 
Aristotle's idea that the apparent magnification was due to 
weak sight, or sight under unusual conditions, the nature of 
which Aristotle himself does not explain. 

The knowledge of the Ancients about refraction was of 
very slow growth. Some of them made observations on 
this subject, for Archimedes is said to have written a book 
on the appearance of a ring seen in water, and Seneca refers 
to the broken appearance of an oar dipped in water, t the 
magnification of letters seen through a glass globe filled 
with water, and the fairer appearance of apples seen floating 
in water in a glass vessel.! Neglecting the work on Optics, 
probably wrongly assigned to Ptolemy, containing many 
interesting observations on the refraction of light by glass, 
water, and air, no important advance was made in the study 

* Nat. Qucest. i. c. 6, ss. 5 and 6. f Ibid. i. c. 3, s. 9. 

t Ibid. i. c. 6, s. 5. 


of refraction until about the year a.d. 1100, when Alhazen 
attempted to determine the relation between the angles of 
incidence and refraction, and set out some of the laws of 

Aristotle was acquainted with the phenomenon now called 
phosphorescence, but did not understand it. He says that it 
is the nature of smooth surfaces to shine in the dark, but 
yet they do not produce light. t Again, he says that some 
objects are seen in the dark, e.g., those which seem to be of 
the nature of fire and shining, such as, for example, fungi, 
horn, sepia juice, and the heads, scales, and eyes of fishes, 
and that these do not show the proper colours of the objects 
themselves. 1 

It is not clear what is meant by the assertion that light 
{(pSii) is not produced by objects shining in the dark. If 
Aristotle had said that heat is not produced, he would have 
made a substantially true statement, but light is produced 
and some phosphorescent bodies emit a light as brilliant as 
that given out by firebrick or other ordinary substances 
heated to a high temperature. It is clear, from the passage 
in De Anima, ii. c. 7, cited above, that Aristotle did not 
consider phosphorescent bodies to be actually of the nature 
of fire, in which case they would emit heat, like a flame or 
incandescent body, and this may be a reason why he states 
that no light is emitted, since no heat accompanies the 
shining effects. That a phosphorescent body does not shine 
with a colour like that of the body itself, as Aristotle says, 
is true, e.g., the white flesh of fishes often shines with a 
delicate green light. 

Difficult though it is to follow Aristotle's speculations on 
light, it is more difficult to follow his speculations on colour. 
It has been stated already that, according to him, the 
Diaphanous exists in varying degrees in all bodies. He 
defines the colour of a body to be the boundary of the 
Diaphanous which is in the body.§ Whatever the nature 
of the Diaphanous may be, it cannot exist separately, 
Aristotle says, but has limits to the same extent as the 
bodies in which it exists. Light exists in the Diaphanous, 
but, if a particular body be considered, it is evident that the 

=!= OpticcB Thesaurus Alhazeni Arahis, F. Risnerus, Basle, 1572, Book 
vii., especially c. 3, entitled " De qualitate refractionis lucis in corporibus 
diaphanis." -\ De Sensu, i^c, ii. 4o7rt. 

I De Anima, ii. c. 7, 419a; De Sensu, dc, ii. 4376. 

§ De Sensu, dc, iii. 439a and b. 


boundary of the Diaphanous which is in it is something real. 
The phenomena show clearly, he says, that this is colour, 
for colour either is in the boundary or is the boundary, 
wherefore the Pythagoreans considered the external surface of 
a body to be the same as its colour. Aristotle proceeds to say 
that colour is not the boundary of the body itself, but is 
in the boundary, and that the nature or constitution of the 
inner parts of the body is the same as that which, at the 
surface of the body, constitutes colour.* Again, he says 
that colour is continuous with light,! and, as has been 
stated already, he considers light to be the colour of the 

It will be noticed that the above statements are of the 
nature of definitions which give very little assistance in deter- 
mining how colour effects are produced. The Diaphanous, 
on which all Aristotle's conceptions about colour seem to 
depend, was a mental conception, or, if intended to be 
something concrete, its nature is difficult to understand. The 
boundary of the Diaphanous in a body is, however, treated 
by him as if it were something real, in which the colour of 
the body existed. According to such views, the green colour 
of an emerald or the yellow colour of an ingot of gold is 
manifested only by the external surface of the Diaphanous 
in the emerald or ingot, but the same colour would be 
manifested by any other section of the Diaphanous in these 
bodies if, by breaking the emerald or cutting the ingot, such 
section coincided with the plane of breaking or cutting. 
However difficult it is to understand some of his statements 
about colour, it seems to be quite clear that he considered it 
to be a boundary phenomenon. 

Both air and water, he says, have a colour of some kind, 
but, inasmuch as air and water have no definite or fixed 
boundaries, their colours vary according to the distance from 
which they are seen. The colours of solid bodies, on the 
other hand, remain the same, unless the action of anything 
surrounding or near them causes a change.! The last 
clause of this passage is one of the few assertions to be 
found in Aristotle's works which suggest that he considered 
the colour of a body to depend on anything but the nature 
of the Diaphanous. There seems to be nothing to anticipate, 
however, the modern view that the colours of bodies are not 

* De Sensu, dc, iii. 439a. f Physics, vii. c. 2, s. 4. 

J De Sensu, dc, iii. 4396. 


merely surface phenomena, and that colour, such as the 
green colour of a leaf or an emerald or the yellow colour of 
an ingot of gold, is due to a selective action effected on 
light which is composite. 

Another interesting question with which Aristotle deals 
is that of the mixture of colours, but here again his state- 
ments are sometimes unsatisfactory, mainly because it is not 
clear whether he is dealing with the mixture of pigments or 
of coloured lights. 

It has been stated that, according to Aristotle, light 
results from the presence in the Diaphanous of something 
of the nature of fire, and darkness ensues when this is 
absent. In a similar way, he says, white and black are 
produced, in solid bodies, i.e., they are respectively caused 
by the presence or absence of something of the nature of 
fire in the Diaphanous of those bodies.* He says that one 
way of producing various colours is by mixing black and 
white in various proportions, colours pleasing to the eye, 
such as light red or dark blue, being produced when the 
proportions of black to white are in simple ratio, just as in 
harmonies (a-u/x(puviat) , and other colours, less pleasing to the 
eye, when the proportions are not in simple ratio. The 
black and white are supposed to be so arranged relatively to 
each other that each is invisible because of the smallness of 
its parts, but the colour of the resulting mixture is visible.! 

Aristotle seems to be referring to a mixture of coloured 
lights, but his conclusions were probably based almost 
entirely on a process of abstract reasoning. In his expla- 
nation of the colours of the rainbow, discussed in Chapter iii., 
he attempts to show that, when the visual rays are directed 
to a distant bright object, this appears to be white, black, 
or some colour intermediate between these, according to the 
weakness or strength of the visual rays. This is both un- 
satisfactory and difficult to understand, but in another part 
of his explanation of rainbows there is a passage which 
clearly refers to a mixture of coloured lights. He says that 
an orange colour is seen between the light red and the 
greenish yellow, such colour resulting from an overlapping 
of the two colours mentioned. I It is true that an orange 
colour results from a mixture of greenish yellow and light 
red lights. 

* De Sensu, Sc, iii. 439&. f Ibid. iii. 4396 and 440«. 

I Meteorol. iii. c. 4, s. 26. 


Another method of producing various colours, Aristotle 
says, is by laying on a coat of a bright colour and then 
laying over this a coat of a different and duller colour, 
so that the bright colour shines through the other. A modi- 
fication of this method to which he refers is the production 
of a red colour when the sun shines through mist or smoke.* 
He speaks also of painters being in the habit of obtaining 
some colours by mixing paints, but says that they could not 
thus obtain red, greenish yellow, or blue, and that these 
were almost the only ones they could not obtain in this 
way.t It has been explained in Chapter iii. that this 
passage suggests that Aristotle probably considered the 
intermediate colour {Ttp^amv) of the rainbow to be some 
shade of yellow rather than green. 

However unimportant Aristotle's work on the nature and 
production of colour effects may be considered to be, it must 
be conceded that he incidentally gives information which 
materially assists in the identification of many ancient Greek 
names for colours with the modern names of the colours 
they were intended to denote. In Homeric and even later 
times the common ideas about colours were not separated 
from those about brightness, or, in the case of colours of the 
eyes, vivacity, and there do not appear to have been many 
colour-names in use. It will be seen, however, that Aristotle 
used many colour-names, most of which denoted well-defined 
colours, but, like many other Greek writers, he sometimes 
employed the words imzkov and >^iv>i6v respectively to indicate 
merely that an object was dark and bright or light. The 
four colours of the rainbow mentioned by him have been 
referred to many times already. A deep brownish red 
colour, like that of the eggs of the kestrel, is called epv^pov.l 
The ash colour or bluish grey of the crane is r£(pf6v § ; while 
the somewhat lighter tint of many gulls is a-Tro^osi^sg.W The 
deep and brilliant blues and greens of the kingfisher were 
Kuavoi/v and x^^p°v respectively.^ 

In his description of the colours of the iris, in H. A. i. 
c. 8, s. 4, Aristotle uses the words f^exav, alyuTrov, ■yMvxov, and 
xapoTTov to denote the colours. It is difficult to determine 
what these were intended to be. The usual colour of a 
goat's iris is brownish or yellowish, and this is probably the 
colour aljoiTzov. MeXocv refers to the darkest colours of the 

■''■ De Sensu, <£c., iii. 440a. f Meteorol, iii. c. 2, s. 5. 

\ H. A. vi. c. 2, s. 2. § Ibid. iii. c. 10, s. 11. 

II Ihid. viii. c. 5, s. 7. ^ Ihid. ix. c. 15, s. 1. 


iris, •x/xf'OTiQy to the darker shades of blue or grey, and y>MUK6v 
to the hghter shades of these colours. That yXaw^oV refers to 
the lighter shades is shown by a passage in the Problems, 
xiv. 14, where it is stated that the colour of the iris in 
those living in the northern parts of the ancient World 
was 7^a«xoV, and that this colour was nearly white. 

The words xapoTro'v and yXat/xoV were used, at first, with- 
out any reference to mere colour, the former meaning glad- 
eyed, and the latter clear or bright. Aristotle advanced far 
beyond this stage in the formulation of ideas, and was 
evidently dealing with colours and even shades of colours. 
In various parts of his works, especially in those parts re- 
lating to birds, he uses many words to denote colours, but, 
in some cases, it is impossible to determine what these were 
intended to be, simply because the objects to which he is 
referring cannot be identified. His colour vocabulary, if it 
could be completed, would be a long one. 

Aristotle's observations on heat phenomena are not alto- 
gether unimportant, and some of them are very interesting. 
They relate chiefly to the effects of heat, the essentially hot 
or cold nature of bodies, including the determination of what 
came to be called by Aristotelians the Primum Frigidum, the 
production of heat by friction, the modes of determining 
roughly the temperatures of different bodies, the consideration 
of the question whether cold is nothing more than privation 
of heat, and some questions connected with animal heat. 

Of the four Aristotelian elements or forces, heat and cold 
are active, and the moist and the dry or solid are passive.* 
By acting on matter in such a way as to overcome it, 
heat and cold produce therefrom fully matured products.! 
Aristotle's statements about the effects of heat were based 
on ordinary observations of everyday operations in the home 
and workshop. In Meteorol. iv. cc. 2-6, he shows that the 
result of the action of heat is a cooking effect, including 
under this phrase not only boiling and roasting, but also the 
ripening of fruits. He also refers to the drying effects of 
heat, the hardening of clay by baking, and the fusion of 
metals and other substances. 

Aristotle expresses an opinion that heat brings together 
bodies of the same kind, but separates those which are not 
allied to each other, t This opinion was accepted by the 

* Meteorol. iv. c. 1, s. 1. f Ibid. iv. c. 1, s. 6. 

I De Gener. et Corr. ii. c. 2, 3296. 


Aristotelians, and, in their discussions on heat, they attached 
great importance to it. According to Boyle, they expressed 
Aristotle's opinion in the short Latin formula, " congregare 
liomogenea et segregare heterogenea." * There are many 
exceptions to the truth of this general formula, but such 
exceptions were not understood by the Aristotelians. Heat 
does sometimes bring together substances of the same kind 
and separate those of different kinds, e. g., when a mixture 
of pieces of copper and lead is melted together with a flux 
in a crucible, for the molten product will form three well- 
defined layers, the lowest containing nearly all the lead and 
the middle one nearly all the copper. When, however, 
sulphur is dropped on a bar of white-hot iron, resulting 
in a union of these unlike substances, and when water is 
vaporized by heating it, the Aristotelian formula does not 
hold good. 

The acuteness of the sensation of heat or cold produced 
when the hand is placed in contact with a body depends 
largely upon the conductivity of the body and its heat 
capacity. Copper or mercury, for instance, produces a more 
acute sensation than wood at the same temperature. Aris- 
totle's ideas on this subject are very imperfect, and not 
consistent, for he sometimes explains it by relying on differ- 
ences in certain physical characters of the bodies, and some- 
times by means of their assumed inherent cold or heat. In 
some cases, he says, the same substances produce a very 
cold sensation if deprived of heat, and a burning sensation 
when heated, the sensation being most acute in the case of 
bodies which are very hard or solid, e. g., the sensation pro- 
duced by a hot stone is more acute than that produced by 
hot water, and that produced by hot water is more acute 
than that produced by hot smoke or vapour, and similarly 
when these substances are cold.t In an earlier passage, 
he assumes that the coldness of bodies is inherent, and 
makes the coldness of watery and earthy substances depend 
on his views on the composition of these bodies from 
his four elements, for both water and earth are defined 
by the elementary force cold.t Water and substances 
for the most part of the nature of water, i. e., liquid, were 
considered by Aristotle to be cold, water being particularly 
of a nature opposed to that of fire, but substances more of 

'•■ The WorJcs of the Honourable Robert Boyle, new edition, London, 
1772, vol. i. p. 488. 

f Meteorol. iv. c. 11, s. 8. t Ihid.iv. c. 11, s. 3. 


the nature of earth or air were considered to be hotter.* 
Oil and also mercury were exceptional, because Aristotle 
assumed that these contained much air,t while he considered 
fat to be an essentially hot substance, because it readily 
assumed the form of fire. I There is much uncertainty, 
Aristotle says, about the nature of oil, for, whether it be 
considered to be more of the nature of water or of earth, it 
ought to be hardened either by the action of cold or by the 
action of heat. It is not, however, hardened by either of 
these, but merely thickened by both, the reason being that 
oil is full of air.§ He does not state to what kind of oil he 
refers, but it is probable that it was some kind of fish-oil, 
which is not easily frozen. 

Long after Aristotle's time, philosophers held that there 
was some body which, by its own nature, was particularly 
cold, and that other bodies were cold in proportion to the 
extent to which such essentially cold body entered into their 
composition. According to Boyle, this body, well known to 
philosophers as the Frimum Frigidiim, was considered by 
some to be w^ater, by others earth, by others air, and by 
some nitre, but he says "that water is the Frimum Frigidum, 
the opinion of Aristotle has made it to be that of the schools, 
and the generality of philosophers." || 

When classifying substances, partly by their composition 
and partly by their behaviour under the action of heat, into 
three classes which would now be called combustible with 
evolution of much smoke, combustible without the evolution 
of much smoke, and incombustible, Aristotle uses the well- 
known term phlogistic, much employed before Lavoisier's 
time. Aristotle gives pitch, oil, and wax as examples of 
phlogistic substances, coal-like {anthrakeutic) substances as 
examples of combustible bodies not yielding much smoke, 
and bronze as an example of incombustible substances.^ 

It will be convenient to discuss next Aristotle's views 
on the production of heat by friction. When expressing an 
opinion that the heat and light of the heavenly bodies are due 
to friction between them and the medium in contact with 
them, as stated already in Chapter iii., he appeals to obser- 
vations on the motions of darts and other missiles through 

* Meteorol. iv. c. 11, s. 7. f Ibid. iv. c. 8, s. 11. 

I P. A. ii. c. 2, 649a,. § Meteorol. iv. c. 7, ss. 2 and 8. 

II The Works of the Honoivrable Robert Boyle, new edition, London, 
1772, vol. ii. pp. 585 and 591. 

II Meteorol, iv. c. 9, s. 37. 


the air. He says that darts had been seen to be heated to 
such an extent that their leaden weights were melted, and 
adds that the shock imparted by their rapid motion to the 
air causes this to become fire.* This production of heat by 
friction is referred to in several passages in his Meteorology, 
where he tries to explain the phenomena of falling stars, 
comets, and other fiery appearances, as described already in 
Chapter iii. He was aware that the intensity of the heat 
generated by a rapidly moving body was greater than that 
generated by a body moving slowly. 

So far, he relies on the results of observation, but to a 
large extent his ideas on the production of heat by friction 
depended on his conceptions about the composition of 
bodies from the four so-called elements. The facility with 
which a substance becomes ignited by friction depends, 
according to Aristotle, on the quantity of the element fire 
or air, which was most nearly related to fire, in the substance 
itself. He says that if pieces of wood, stone, or iron are 
heated in consequence of their motion, it is still more likely 
that air, which is most nearly related to fire, should be 
heated. t 

In P. A. ii. c. 2, Aristotle discusses what is meant when 
one substance is said to be hotter or colder than another, 
and incidentally explains how a rough estimate of tempe- 
rature may be made. It will be seen that he did not always 
distinguish between temperature and quantity of heat. 
This part of his discussion about heat is more than usually 
interesting, and an epitome is therefore given in the follow- 
ing paragraph. 

Some say that blood is hot and that bile is cold, while 
others say that bile is hot and blood cold. If there is 
this difference of opinion about heat and cold, which are 
capable of producing distinct impressions, what is to be 
thought of the impressions given by senses other than touch? 
The difficulty may be explained by the fact that the term 
"hotter" is used in several different senses, so that state- 
ments apparently contradictory may all be more or less true. 
In what senses then is the term "hot" employed? To 
answer this question, it is necessary to find out what 
particular effect is produced by a substance which is hotter 
than another, or, if several effects are produced, to find out 
how many such effects there are. In one sense, a body is 

- De Coelo, ii. c. 7, 289a. f Ibid. ii. c. 7, 289a. 


said to be hotter than another if it gives up to a body in 
contact with it a greater quantity of heat, and in another 
sense if it causes a sharper sensation when touched by any- 
one. This second test is not rehable, because the intensity 
of the sensation varies with the individual. Again, a body 
which causes a fusible body to melt more quickly, or more 
readily ignites an inflammable substance, is said to be 
hotter. A larger body is said to have more heat than a 
smaller one of the same material, and, if a body takes 
longer to cool than another, it is said to be hotter, and so 
also if the body can be heated more quickly than the other. 
The term " hotter " is used in all these and probably in still 
more senses, but it is impossible for a body to be hotter than 
another in all these senses. Boiling water scalds more than 
flame, yet it does not melt or ignite bodies like flame does, 
and boiling water is hotter than a dull fire but becomes cold 
more quickly than the fire, for fire never becomes cold, 
whereas water does. 

It is obvious from all this that Aristotle had no means 
of determining temperatures, even approximately, and that 
he was well aware that such rough methods as were 
available were quite unreliable. His discussion of the 
meaning of the term "hotter" shows, however, that he had 
attempted to make some relevant observations or experi- 
ments. If he had had even an approximately reliable 
means for measuring temperatures, he would at once have 
found that a dull fire or a flame, say of oil or wood, was much 
hotter than boiling water. The statement he makes about 
the fire keeping hot longer than boiling water shows that 
the generation of heat by combustion was not known to 
him. The phenomena of combustion were not correctly 
described, in fact, until long after Aristotle's time by 
Lavoisier. Just as Aristotle believed that some bodies were 
essentially cold, so he believed that others were essentially 
hot, and that this was the reason why some bodies cooled 
faster than others, although they were hotter to the touch. 
He decided that, in bodies which are not inherently hot but 
become hot by being heated externally, cold is not a mere 
privation of heat, but an actual existence.* 

Animal heat is discussed by Aristotle in many scattered 
passages in his Parts of Animals, Generation of Animals, 
History of Animals, and the Parva Naturalia. He believed 

* P. A. ii. c. 2, 649a. 


that there was a relation between the quantity of animal 
heat, which he considered to be something different from 
ordinary heat, and the nature of the soul or vital principle 
of an animal. He says that in animals a nobler soul or 
vital principle must necessarily be associated with a greater 
amount of heat.* 

He does not say much about the way in which he 
believed that the animal heat was generated, but, after 
deciding that it is not produced as a result of respiration, 
says that it is rather from the food that heat is produced.! 
He not only believed that heat was not produced as a result 
of respiration, but, as will be seen further on in this chapter, 
that respiration had a cooling effect. 

Animal heat plays an important part in the digestion of 
food, as is well known, but Aristotle believed that it actually 
effected digestion.! Further, he believed that it had some 
vital influence, being different from the heat from a fire.§ 

He refers to the necessity for regulating the heat of an 
animal and guarding against the destructive effects of exces- 
sive heat. II Very small animals and those without blood 
are sufficiently cooled, he says, by the air or water in which 
they live, for they have but little heat. II Fishes and other 
animals with gills and blood are cooled by water flowing 
over the gills through which the blood passes from the 
heart.** In mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, the 
regulation of heat is effected mainly by means of the lungs, tt 
the air flowing through ramifications of the bronchial tubes, 
which run so closely alongside the branches of the blood 
vessels in the lungs that the blood is cooled and some air 
actually finds its way into the blood, which is also cooled 
thereby. + 1 

According to Aristotle, the lungs were not the only 
heat-regulating means, in animals with blood. The brain, 
which he did not regard as the sensory centre, was believed 
by him to have as its most important function the regulation 
of the heat of the body, and especially the heat of the head, 
where the chief sensory organs are situated. §§ 

Several interesting instances of the application of heat 
in the arts are described by Aristotle in various parts of his 

* De Bespir. c. 13. 477a. f Ibid. c. 6, 473a. 

I P. A. ii. c. 3, 656a. § G. A. ii. c. 3, 7366 and 737a. 

II De Bespir. c. 8, 474&. 11 Ibid. c. 9, 474&. 
*■- Ibid. c. 21, 4806. ft Ibid. c. 15, 478a. 

n H. A. i. c. 14, 8. 3. §§ P. A. ii. c. 7, 653a and b. 


works, and a discussion of some of these will close this 
account of Aristotle's description of the phenomena of heat. 

It seems to have been usual for people living near the 
Black Sea to encamp on the ice, for the purpose of fishing, 
and to secure their tent poles in holes made in the ice. In 
order to make the poles very secure, Aristotle says that they 
poured hot water round the lower parts of the poles, and 
that the ice formed by the rapid freezing of the water was a 
substitute for lead.* He also says that it was a common 
custom for some people, when they wished to freeze water 
quickly, to expose it first to the heat of the sun.t 

Aristotle describes the manufacture of pearl-ash by the 
Umbrians, who burnt plants, boiled the resulting ash in water, 
and finally cooled down to crystallize the salts produced. 1 

In Meteorol. iv. c. 6, s. 7, Aristotle refers to the distortion 
of articles of potters' clay, if these articles, hardened by cold 
or frozen, are placed in the oven. He explains the distortion 
by saying that there is a temporary softening of the clay by 
the action of the water resulting from the thawing during 
the first stage of the baking process. 

Aristotle gives a short account of the production of steel. 
" Worked iron," he says, can be heated so as to be liques- 
cent, and then can be solidified again, and, in this way, 
they make steel, for the slag falls down beneath and is 
cleared off. When this process has been carried out many 
times, and the metal has become pure, steel is produced. § 

The " worked iron," which might at first sight be taken 
to be wrought iron, can scarcely be this metal, because 
Aristotle's description shows that the " worked iron " was 
comparatively easily fusible, whereas wrought iron is not so. 
He says, in fact, in an earlier passage, || that iron can be 
melted only by a very intense heat, but it can be softened. 
Here he evidently refers to wrought iron, or, perhaps more 
correctly, a steely iron. The " worked iron " was probably 
a crude steely iron, containing manganese, such as could be 
obtained from the manganiferous iron ores of Greece, by 
the ancient process of extraction by means of carbon. 
Unfortunately, Aristotle does not describe the method of 
extraction. The method of making steel, described by him, 
consisted in repeatedly heating the crude steely iron, each 
heating resulting in an elimination of some of the im- 

^= Meteorol. i. c. 12, s. 18. | Ibid. 

I Ibid. ii. c. 3, ss. 42 and 43. § Ibid. iv. c. 6, s. 9, 

II Ibid. iv. c. 6, s. 8. 


purities. The way in which he refers to the separation of 
the slag shows that, as might be expected, the slag was a 
very fusible silicate of iron and manganese, each removal 
of slag resulting in a corresponding loss of iron. He him- 
self says that steel was not often made because of the great 
loss of iron, but less refining was needed when the iron used 
was of good quality.* 

Aristotle's statements about sound are comparatively few 
in number, and occur chiefly in his De Anima. There is 
but little information on this subject in his De Sensu, dx., 
where such information might be expected to be found. In 
a small Aristotelian treatise, the De Audihilihus, are also a 
few interesting statements on sound, but it is generally 
admitted that this treatise was not written by Aristotle. 

His observations on sound furnish little that was 
original. He reproduces in clearer language some facts 
which w^ere well known before his time, e.g., that sound 
was a motion of the air or other sounding body, that such 
motion was transmitted in some way to the ear and caused 
a sensation of hearing, and that an echo was due to a 
rebounding of the air, a bending back or reflection of the 
voice. In the production of an echo, he believed that the 
air rebounded like a ball off a mass of air which, on account 
of its being prevented from dispersing by reason of its filling 
a cavity or vessel {ajyeiov), acted like a solid or resisting 

When a body, such as a bell, is sounded, there are, as is 
well known, four things which contribute to the result : the 
hammer of the bell, the bell itself, the air acting as a medium 
of transmission, and the ear. Aristotle, however, held that 
an important condition was that the air should withstand 
the blows causing its motion and should not yield laterally 
or disperse. If the air were struck forcibly and suddenly, 
it would be unable to yield, but if the blow were weak and 
slow in its action, the air would have time to escape or 
disperse, and no sound would be produced. It was partly 
for these reasons that he seems to have believed that wool 
and other light substances, enclosing many air spaces, were 
not sounding bodies, while bronze articles and other hard 
bodies, which were polished and had no crevices or recesses 
into which air could escape, were sounding bodies. I 

* Meteorol. iv. c. 6, s. 10. t De Anima, ii. c. 8, 4196. 

I Ibid. ii. c. 8, 4196. 


Aristotle appears to have believed that the motion to 
which sound is due travels in a straight line, and not in all 
directions, if the medium is unbroken. There is not any 
passage in his vv^orks v\^hich seems to represent clearly his 
views on this subject, but in the Aristotelian treatise, De 
Audibilibus, it is stated that it is shown, by means of 
ships' masts and long pieces of wood, that sound travels in 
a straight line, for if these are struck at one end the sound 
is carried straight along, unless there is a chink in the 
wood, and it bends back at the knots and cannot proceed in 
a straight course.* 

Aristotle says that sound is heard in water, but to a less 
extent than in air.t Sound is heard more distinctly in 
water than in air, as is well known, and it is very probable 
that Aristotle was relying not on experiment but merely on 
abstract reasoning. 

It is stated in the Problems, xi. 23, that in the pro- 
duction of an echo the reflection is in the direction of a 
like angle, Tand therefore the voice of the echo is like the 
voice to which it is due. The Problems is an Aristotelian 
treatise, probably not written by Aristotle, but the above 
statement shows that the writer knew that, in the case of 
sound, the angles of incidence and reflection are equal. 

* De Atidibilibus, 802. f De Anhna, ii. c. 8, 4196. 



The determination of a distinguishing feature between 
animals and plants, and of the relationship between forms 
of life and inanimate matter, has long engaged the attention 
of naturalists and others. Many passages in Aristotle's works 
show that he also considered this very difficult question. 

He probably had no knowledge of the lowest forms 
of life, and his knowledge of some forms, such as, for 
instance, jelly-fishes, sea-anemones, and sponges, was 
comparatively slight. He observed, however, that some 
animals resembled plants in certain respects, and that some 
forms of life originated under circumstances such as to 
suggest that they were generated from inanimate matter. 
Having made observations of this kind, he made the follow- 
ing important statements; which seem to show that he 
believed in spontaneous generation {avTo/xaroi jEvsa-ii), or, as 
it is sometimes called, abiogenesis, and in a continuous 
gradation from inanimate matter to the highest forms of 
life. He says : " Thus Nature passes by degrees from 
inanimate things (a4'y%a) to living beings, so that owing to 
their continuity the boundary between them escapes notice, 
and there is an intermediate common ground. For, first 
after the class of inanimate things comes the class of plants, 
and each of these differs from the rest in seeming to partake 
of life to a greater or less extent, and the whole class seems 
to be alive compared with other bodies, but lifeless compared 
with animals. The passage from them to animals is con- 
tinuous, as I said before, for anyone would be quite at a loss 
in deciding whether some marine forms of life are plants or 
animals, for they are attached to the sea-bed, and many of 
such forms of life die when they are removed from it,"* 
Again, he says : " For Nature passes in an unbroken man- 

* H. A. viii. c. 1, S8. 2 and 3. 


ner from inanimate things to animals, through forms of hfe 
which are not animals, in such a way that one class seems 
to differ very little from another in the part where they 
border on each other." * 

These ideas were not altogether original, but had been 
partly foreshadowed by other philosophers. Empedocles, 
Democritus, and others considered that plants had sensation 
and cognition, as will be seen later in Chapter vii. They 
believed, in fact, that the vital principle of plants was 
nearly the same as that of animals. 

In the above passages from Aristotle's H. A. and P. A. 
the word a-^ux^v is employed several times. It signifies 
something without -^oxn, which may be translated " vital 
principle," although it is doubtful whether there is any 
English word or phrase which exactly corresponds with the 
meaning intended by Aristotle. This vital principle is 
described chiefly in his De Anima. It is that active 
principle which, in association with bodies, organized in 
some way, gives rise to the phenomena of life. The word 
" organized " is used here only for the sake of convenience ; 
taken without qualification, it represents a knowledge of 
the constitution of matter far more advanced than Aristotle's 
ideas on that subject. He considered the vital principle to 
be related to living bodies in a manner comparable with the 
relationship of Form to Matter, or Sight to the Eye, and 
says that if an eye were a living being, then sight would be 
its vital principle.! He contemplated several kinds of vital 
principle, manifested by functions of different degrees of 
dignity or importance, the chief being : (1) the Nutritive ; 
(2) the Sentient, and (3) the Intellectual. Whatever has 
one of these principles is said to live, and Aristotle assigned 
only one to a form of life, because the sentient includes the 
nutritive, and the intellectual includes both the nutritive 
and the sentient vital principles. All forms of life have the 
nutritive vital principle at least. 

In his contemplations of forms of life, Aristotle con- 
sidered the vital principle to be more important than the 
matter associated with it, yet the constitution of this matter 
had to satisfy some conditions to enable the vital principle 
to be associated therewith. He does not seem to suggest 
that the vital principle could be associated with a sculptured 
block of marble or an image cast from bronze. He believed, 

* P. A, iv. c. 5, 681a. f De Anima, ii. c. 1, 4126. 


however, that forms of Hfe were generated spontaneously 
from earth, mud, sand, foam, or the dew which falls on 

In order that lifeless matter may become living matter, 
some vital principle must be associated with it, but it is 
difficult to understand in what w-ay Aristotle believed that 
this association was effected. It could not be, apparently, 
by a transfer of vital principle alone to non-living matter, 
for Aristotle persistently asserts that the vital principle, 
that, at least, to which nutritive or sentient faculties are 
due, cannot have a separate existence. He gives some 
explanation of his views in several passages, especially in 
his G. A. iii. c. 11. According to these, the inanimate 
matter undergoes some kind of maturing process in presence 
of moisture and at a suitable high temperature, the moisture 
containing some breath of life {Tinvi^a), and everything being 
in some way full of vital principle {-^"X^). Then frothy 
bubbles of this specially prepared matter are formed, and 
within these generation proceeds rapidly. The nature of 
the forms of life thus formed will depend partly on the 
nature of the matter caught up within the bubbles and partly 
on the nature of the vital principle enclosed. 

This is a short summary of the way in which Aristotle 
believed that spontaneous generation was effected. Another 
important statement, giving some indication of his views on 
the subject under discussion is the following : — " The part 
of the rudimentary vital principle (^J^yx'tw «p;>C") caught up and 
enclosed in the breath of life {'Trnuixa) makes the germ or 
embryo and imparts movement."* 

It is not clear what this 'nvEUfMa was intended to be. In 
some translations of this and other passages on spontaneous 
generation, Trvsu/xa is rendered by "air", but this is incorrect, 
for, apart from differences in meaning between TiveS/xa and 
arip, the usual Greek word for air, Aristotle says that air {avp) 
is not present and cannot remain in water.! The same 
assertion is also made in the Aristotelian treatise, De Spiritu, 
c. 2, 482. 

Many parts of the passages in Aristotle's works on 
spontaneous generation are general statements covering 
many important details in the steps of the process. It is 
not surprising that he makes no attempt to trace these 

- G. A. iii. c. 11, 7626. 

f De Sensu, ic, c. 5, 448a. ; De Respir. c. 2, 471a. 



The chief forms of Hfe which were believed by Aristotle 
to be generated spontaneously were: — (1) some flowerless 
plants ; (2) many of his Ostrahoderma, especially those now 
called gastropods and lamellibranchs ; (3) some of his 
Entoma, and (4) some fishes, such as, for example, eels and 
certain kinds of mullets. These forms of life, different as 
they are both in structure and in the amount of vital prin- 
ciple they seem to possess, resemble one another, according 
to Aristotle, in being generated immediately from inanimate 
matter. To this extent, therefore, the two important 
passages from H. A. viii. c. 1, and P. A. iv. c. 5, previously 
cited, are clear. Some of these forms of life resemble one 
another sufficiently to form an assemblage which unites 
inanimate matter with higher plants and animals, such as 
flowering plants, insects, crustaceans, cephalopods, and the 
numerous animals constituting Aristotle's Enaima, which 
corresponds to a large extent with the Vertebrata. 

The ancient Greeks had no difficulty in believing in 
spontaneous generation, and even Aristotle took the trouble 
to consider the common saying that men and some quadru- 
peds were generated from the earth. It is true that he was 
not inclined to believe in generation from the earth itself, 
but he seems to have admitted the possibility of generation 
of men and some quadrupeds from much lower forms of 
life, for he says that, if generation from the earth did 
happen, it must have been generation from worms or larvae, 
or from ova.* 

In H. A. ii. c. 5, s. 1, he says that the Barbary Ape and 
other monkeys and also baboons partake of the nature of 
both men and quadrupeds. Neither in this nor, appar- 
ently, in any other passage does Aristotle show that he had 
any idea of a development of higher forms of life from 
common ancestors, at all resembling the Darwinian idea of 
the origin of species. When referring to Aristotle's state- 
ment about the Barbary Ape, Agassiz says that Strack in 
his translation! makes Aristotle say that monkeys form a 
transition between men and quadrupeds, but the original 
says no such thing.! This is quite true, and the comment 
by Agassiz illustrates the danger of translating Aristotle too 

Aristotle had some knowledge of no fewer than five 

=1= G. A. iii. c. 11, 7626. 

f Aristofeles Natur. der TJiiere, 1816, p. 65. 

I An Essay on Classific, London, 1859, p. 97, Note. 



hundred and twenty forms of life, and between some of 
these he noticed that there were resemblances, while they 
differed in the natm-e and quantity of vital principle which 
they seemed to possess. Some forms of life contained very 
little or none of the sentient vital principle. It was 
through these that Nature passed from inanimate material 
to undoubted plants and animals. This is exemplified in 
Fig. 4, which sufficiently explains itself. 

FIG. 4. 


','■ Ina'nimate 

In Aristotle's ascending scale, plants succeed inanimate 
bodies. They hav© Ahe lowest form of vital principle, the 
nutritive,* and exhibit movements due to growth and 
decay, t They do not move from place to place, and, 
although they are affected in some way by objects which 
touch them, they have no sensory faculty.! Compared 
with one another, they differ in the amount of vital principle 
which they possess. § 

* De Anima, ii. c. 2, 4186, ii. c. 3, 415a. 
\ Ibid. ii. c. 12, 424a. 

f lbi(L iii. c. 9, 432&. 
§ H, A. viii. c. 1, s. 2. 


Animals have some part at least of the sentient vital 
principle, and are distinguished by being capable of sen- 
sation.* Some have all the senses, and others have certain 
senses only, but all have the sense of touch,! so that their 
life is defined by this, t 

It will thus be seen that an object which clearly con- 
tracted on being touched, or which moved bodily from place 
to place, would be classed by Aristotle with animals. There 
were also what may be called his border-line forms of life, 
such as, for instance, his Holothouria, which showed some 
features indicating that they were plants and also others 
indicating that they were animals. Let us consider a few 
of these forms of life and the way Aristotle proposed to 
classify them. 

The fixed ascidians, Aristotle's Tethya, resembled plants 
in always being attached to some object, but, since they had 
a kind of fleshy substance, it must be assumed that they 
had some degree of sensibility ; further, these animals did 
not seem to have any distinct waste matters from their 
nutriment, and, in this respect, they resembled plants. § He 
considered them to be animals which had a sense of smell 
developed only to a very slight 

The forms of life to which he gave the name Ahalephai 
included some of the Medusae, Actiniae, and other Coelen- 
terata. He considered that they were animals, because 
some of them became free and could capture their prey, but 
that, like plants, they had no distinct waste matters. H 

A satisfactory identification of Aristotle's Holothouria 
does not seem to be possible. He says that they are free 
forms of life incapable of moving from place to place,** and 
that they are devoid of sensation and live like certain plants 
which exist free from the soil, ft This is all the information 
he gives about them, and it is not quite clear whether he 
intended to class them with plants or animals. Some have 
attempted to identify them with sea-cucumbers {Holotlmrim) , 
but such identification is unsatisfactory, for sea-cucumbers 
show marked signs of feeling. Prof. E. Forbes, after 
describing the common holothurians of the eastern Medi- 
terranean, and expressing an opinion that they are not the 

- P. A. ii. c. 8, 6536 ; G. A. ii. c. 5, lAla. 
\ H. A. i. c. 3 ; De Anima, ii. c. 2, 4136 and 414a. 
:j; Ibid. iii. c. 13, 4356. § P. A. iv. c. 5, 681a ; H. A. viii. c. 1, s. 3. 
II H. A. iv. c. 8, s. 19. ir P. A. iv. c. 5, 6816; H. A. iv. c. 6, ss.4-5. 
-* H. A. i. c. 1, 8. 8. if P. A. iv. c. 5, 681a. 


same as the Holothouria of the Ancients, suggests that 
Aristotle may have had in view " the large, round, sponge- 
like algue called Spongodium, living free on the sea-bed 
and abundant in the Greek seas." * 

Aristotle's statements about sponges are remarkable, 
and, until the eighteenth century, naturalists do not seem 
to have added much further information about them. Be- 
sides giving a great deal of other information about sponges, 
he says that they are animals resembling plants very closely, 
because they cannot live v^hen torn avi^ay from their places 
of attachment,! and that they show signs of feeling, a proof 
of this being that, according to common report, they 
contract when an attempt is made to tear them away, or 
when the winds and waves are violent ; the people of 
Torona, he adds, deny that this is so.t 

His conclusion, that sponges are animals, apparently 
based on very slender data, is interesting, because natura- 
lists were long undecided on this question. Gesner, Rondelet, 
and Belon were disposed to consider them to be plants, Eay 
and Tournefort classed them with plants, and Linnaeus, 
Lamarck, Milne-Edwards, Cuvier, and many others con- 
sidered them to be animals. It may be mentioned that the 
opinion of Linnaeus changed, e.g., in the tenth edition of 
the Systema NatwcB sponges are classed with plants, and in 
the twelth and thirteenth editions, with animals. 

The assumed contractility of sponges, based on hearsay 
evidence, but denied by the people of Torona, in Macedonia, 
seems to have formed the chief reason why Aristotle con- 
sidered sponges to be animals. However, sponges do not 
seem to exhibit any such contractility, for Dr. Grant, affcer 
numerous experiments on sponges, found no trace of it, and 
he also says that several other investigators had been unable 
to detect it in sponges found in many different localities. § 

There is another matter deserving of consideration in 
connection with Aristotle's decision that sponges are animals, 
viz., the extent to which he relied on popular beliefs. The 
many passages on sponges, in his works, show that he 
studied these animals in some detail, but it is worthy of 
note that, when speaking of their showing signs of feeling, 

••= Travels in Lycia, dc, 1847, vol. ii. p. 118. 
f H. A. viii. c. 1, s. 3 ; P. A. iv. c. 5, GSla. 
I H. A. i. c. 1, s. 8, V. c. 14, s. 8. 

§ Edin. Philosoph. Journ., vol. xiii. 1825, pp. 342-6, vol. xiv. 182G, 
pp. l'20-l. 


he seems to rely on what was told him by others, probably 
fishermen. I have not been able to find a passage in the 
ancient writers showing that fishermen of Aristotle's time 
believed that sponges were animals. At a much later time 
Gesner was influenced by a popular belief of this kind, for 
he says : " I do not think that the Sponge is an animal ; 
indeed, it is scarcely a zoophyte ; since, however, some of 
the common people think that it is some kind of animal 
and, on this account, Eondelet and Belon have treated of it 
in their histories of aquatic animals, I also shall deem it 
worthy to be included in my supplement."* 

It is not easy to ascertain what is the general popular 
opinion on the nature of sponges in the Greek area. Dr. 
W. H. D. Rouse informs me that the sponge is spoken of in 
terms which would suit an animal, and Mr. G. C. Zervos, 
writing from Calymnos, on October 23rd, 1907, says: "The 
Sponge is considered to be an animal, because the Sponge 
fishermen say that e^opriaav ra crtpouyyapia = (the Sponges have 
become dead), and the word >J'0<pai is used in modern Greek 
to denote the death of animals only." Wishing to obtain 
information as definite as possible, I wrote to Mr. W. R. 
Halliday at the British School at Athens. He replied 
(after his return from a journey which included Melos and 
Paros) in a letter received June 24th, 1911, as follows: "I 
think I can answer your question about sponges in the 
negative. I have put it in the following forms on different 
occasions : ' Are sponges animals or plants ? ' to which the 
answer is 'Plants.' ' Are sponges animals?' * No, plants.' 
' Are sponges plants ? ' ' Yes, of the sea.' In no case have 
I found any hesitation, or leaning towards the animal theory." 

Evidently, the popular opinion among some Greeks is 
that sponges are plants, and it is possible that Aristotle was 
not merely recording a popular belief when he said that 
sponges are animals. 

The distinctions between animals and plants which 
Aristotle attempted to make have long become insufficient ; 
in fact, they were scarcely sufficient for the comparatively 
very few lower forms of life known to him. The well- 
known definitions of stones and like substances, plants, and 
animals, made by Linnaeus, were like those of Aristotle, 
except that stress was laid on the fact that animals and 
plants are organised, while stones and the like are unor- 

"t Hist. Anim, iv. Corollarium, 1558, p. 106G. 


ganized. Later naturalists found that these definitions were 
unsatisfactory. Then importance was attached to the 
absorption of nutriment by fibres at the lower ends of 
plants and the presence in animals of a mouth above or 
anteriorly, leading to a stomach. Next, naturalists sought 
a reliable distinction between plants and animals in the 
exhalation of carbonic acid by animals and oxygen by plants. 
With increasing knowledge of new forms of life, all these 
distinctions were found to be unsatisfactory, and new ones 
were suggested, depending on, e.g., the nature of the cell, 
the properties of protoplasm, the presence or absence of 
chlorophyll, and the nature of the food of animals and 
plants. To-day, however, the difficulties are confined 
chiefly to the numerous very small forms of life of which 
Aristotle and even Linnaeus and many later naturalists had 
no knowledge. With respect to such small forms of life. 
Sir Kay Lankester says : " When, however, we come to the 
very lowest unicellular microscopic forms of life, there is 
greater difficulty in assigning some of the minuter organisms 
to one side or the other, and to some extent our decision in 
the matter must depend on the theory we may provisionally 
adopt as to the nature of the earliest living material, which 
was the common ancestral matrix from which both the 
Plant series and the Animal series have developed." * 

It is clear, therefore, that Aristotle, when he attempted 
to determine a boundary line between animals and plants, 
became the pioneer of a work which has engaged the atten- 
tion of numerous investigators right up to the present time. 
He was not aware of the complicated nature of the pheno- 
mena which it would be necessary to understand before so 
difficult a task could be completed, but he made a creditable 
attempt. That he knew only comparatively few forms of 
life, and that he had great difficulty in deciding on the nature 
of some, the position of which has long been determined, do 
not deprive him of the credit of being the first to indicate 
how a boundary line may be drawn between plants and 

A Treatise on Zoology, part i. 1909, p. xiv. 




Aristotle's conceptions about the constituents of 
animals, plants, and inanimate matter were connected with 
his views about motion. It has been stated already that he 
believed that there was but one Kosmos or Universe, that 
this was of spherical form, and that the Earth was at its 
centre. He held that all motions of bodies could be resolved 
into three simple motions : (1) rectilinear motion upwards or 
outwards from the centre ; (2) rectilinear motion downwards 
or inwards towards the centre, and (3) circular motion. A 
simple body or element must have, according to Aristotle, a 
simple motion, and, from a consideration of the motions 
which earthy substances, water, air, and flame exhibit, he con- 
cluded that there were four elemejits, earth, ivater, air, and Jire, 
of which earth and loater correspond to rectilinear motion 
towards the centre, and air and fire correspond to rectilinear 
motion from the centre. To circular motion he assigned a 
fifth element, cether, distinguished by being eternal and 
indestructible, undergoing no change either in quality or 
quantity. This element, since it could not move in a recti- 
linear direction, either upwards or downwards, had neither 
lightness nor heaviness. He believed that this element 
existed in the upper regions of the Kosmos or, at any rate, 
at some distance from us. He does not appear to have 
considered it to be a part of terrestrial bodies.* On the 
other hand, earth, water, air, and fire, which enter into the 
composition of terrestrial bodies, are not eternal, and require 
to be renewed by generation.! 

Aristotle was not the first to consider that earth, water, 
air, and fire were the elements from which all terrestrial 
substances are made. Empedocles, in somewhat figurative 
language, was the first to do this, as Aristotle himself clearly 

* De Coelo, i. cc. 2 and 3, iii. cc. 3 and 5. f li^id. ii. c. 3. 



shows,* Aristotle, however, preferred to carry his analysis 
still further. He considered these so-called elements to be 
compounded of the forces {^uvauEig) to which he gave the 
names Hot, Cold, Wet, and Dry.t The Hot and Cold 
were considered to be active, and the Wet and Dry pas- 
sive. I The way in which these forces were combined to 
form the elements is usually represented graphically in the 



way shown in Fig. 5. The combinations shown are the 
only ones, because heat and cold, wetness and dryness, are 
contraries which cannot exist together. This conception of 
the composition of bodies out of the forces, rather than 
out of the so-called elements, agrees better with Aristotle's 
statement, in De Coelo, ii. c. 3, that the elements act on each 
other and, as a result, destroy each other. 

■■'• Metajjhijs. i. c. 4, 985fi ; De Gener. et Corr., ii. c, 1, 329rt. 
\ P. A. ii. c. 1, G4Ga ; De Oener. et Corr., ii. ce. 2-5. 
I Meteorol. iv. c. 1, s. 1. 


The manner in which Aristotle considered bodies to be 
made up from the elements may now be- considered. He 
says that there are three degrees of composition, the first 
being that out of the so-called elements, such as ai?', earth, 
water, and fire, or, he says, it would be better to say out of 
the forces referred to above, the second degree of com- 
position being that by which the homoeomeria,* such as 
blood, flesh, bone, stone, and the like, are formed out of the 
elejnents, and the third being that by which the anhomoe- 
omeria,t such as the face, hand, and many other parts, are 
formed out of the homoeomeria. I With respect to the first 
degree of composition, Aristotle considered that all forms of 
matter, animate or inanimate, contained some quantity of 
each of the elements, combined together and not merely in 
a state of mixture, and that the differences in the properties 
of these forms of matter, such as differences in heaviness or 
lightness, roughness or smoothness, were consequential on 
the proportions of the elements present. § Consequently, each 
of the substances earth, water, air, and flame, as they are 
known to us, contain some quantity of each of Aristotle's 
elements, but earth, water, air, and flame contain preponder- 
ating proportions of the elements earth, water, air, and fire, 
respectively. Other forms of matter, even such different 
substances as stone and palm oil, contain the same elements; 
their differences are due merely to the different proportions 
in which these elements are present. The stone contains a 
preponderant quantity of earth, and the oil contains com- 
paratively large amounts of air and loater. The oil, if 
liquid, may be made solid, as is well known, without any 
change in its chemical composition, but, according to 
Aristotle's views, the solid oil would differ from the liquid 
oil chiefly by containing smaller amounts of air and loater. 

Clearly, therefore, Aristotle believed that a change in the 
relative proportions of the elements in a substance resulted 
in the production of a substance having properties diff- 
erent from those of the original substance. This was 
not all ; it will be evident, from the following account of his 
views on the constitution of substances, that he held that 
the elements existed in a state of combination and not mere 

'''- The homoeomeria will be discussed cliiefly in Chapter ix. 
■f- The anhomoeomeria will be discussed chiefly in Chapters x.-xii. 
X p. A. ii. c. 1, 64Ga. 

§ Ihid. ii. c. 1, 646a ; De Gener. et Corr. i. c. 10, 328a, ii. c. 8, 
3346 and 33oa. 


mixture. He uses three words in a technical sense, auv^sai^, 
/"("lif, and xpoiaiq. According to Aristotle's explanation of 
these words, they respectively mean a mechanical mixture, 
a compounding of solid bodies so as to produce a body abso- 
lutely uniform in composition (the solid bodies having been 
so blended that not even the smallest particle of any of them 
can be detected), and a compounding of fluids in the same 
way. He says that, since bodies cannot be divided into 
indivisible particles, and synthesis and mixis are different, 
we ought not to say that in mixis the small particles of the 
mixed bodies preserve their individuality, for the result of 
the mixis is a homoeomerion. Nothing of this kind would 
result, he says, from a mixture of indivisible particles, for, if 
it were possible to examine the mixture with the eye of 
Lynceus, it would be seen that the mixture was not a mixis, 
although it might seem to be so to one with ordinary sight.* 
Aristotle, therefore, had some ideas of what is now 
called chemical combination, but he held that his elements 
combined in every conceivable proportion ; his compounds 
were more like some alloys than chemical compounds. Be- 
lieving that all bodies were formed from four elements, 
and that these elements were capable of combining in all 
proportions, it is not surprising that the alchemists, who 
were greatly influenced by Aristotle, persisted so long in 
their efforts to transmute the baser metals into gold.t That 
Aristotle's ideas were very crude may be seen from the 
following examples, the first of which is taken from his own 
writings. In the production of bronze there is usually a 
rather large loss of tin by oxidation and vaporization, but 
the rest of the tin alloys with the copper with the production 
of a bronze which is much harder and of a lighter colour 
than the copper. According to Aristotle, the tin nearly 
vanishes during the production of the alloy, its effect being 
merely to modify the colour of the alloy, because the copper 

-i= De Gener. et Corr. i. c. 10, 328a. 

f Researches on the transmutation of certain elements into other 
elements have been made durinjj recent years by Sir William Ramsay 
and others (see Journal of the Chemical Society, 1907, pp. 1593-1606 ; 
1909, pp. 624-637). Sir William Ramsay says : " The undoubted fact 
that the well-known helium is a product of the ' degradation ' of radium 
must be held to be thoroughly established. And in this instance, one 
certain case of transmutation is sufficient " {Journ. of the Chem. Soc, 
1909, p. 626). 

It may be of interest to state that there is a Specification for British 
Letters Patent, No. 26356, a.d. 1910 (Roux), for transmuting iron into 
silver and gold. 


acts more strongly on the tin, which cannot act strongly on 
the copper.* Again, if water be deprived of its hydrogen, 
a gas is left having properties very different from those of 
water. On Aristotle's assumption, this should be explained 
by saying that the water had been changed by an addition 
of the element air, whereas hydrogen, which would be of 
the nature of Aristotle's element air, has been taken away. 
He was also quite unaware that the physical properties of a 
substance may be changed while its composition remains 
the same, 

Kespecting the physical constitution of matter, Aristotle 
held that matter was continuous and not made up of indi- 
visible parts, t He rejected the atomic theories of Leucippus, 
Democritus, and other ancient Greek philosophers who 
considered matter to consist of atoms or small indivisible 
particles separated by interspaces and in a state of motion. 
This theory has only a superficial resemblance to the modern 
atomic theory of chemists, and was open to the objection 
that it did not satisfactorily explain how the atoms were 
held together. Aristotle's theory that matter was continuous 
was at least not open to this objection. Compared with the 
theories of the ancient atomists, it might be said that, 
broadly speaking, matter was considered by Aristotle to be 
vitreous or colloidal, and by the atomists to be granular. 
The modern theory takes account of the action of chemical 
and physical forces which were quite unknown both to the 
atomists and to Aristotle. 

The substances, or homoeomeria, resulting from the 
combination or 7nixis of the elements earth, water, air, 
andyire, will next be considered. According to Aristotle, a 
part of a homoeomerion, such as flesh, may be correctly 
called by the name given to the homoeomerion itself, but a 
part of an anhomceomerion, such as a hand, cannot be 
properly designated by the name of the anhomceomerion. I 
He gives numerous examples of his homoeomeria, such as, 
for example, flesh, blood, splanchnon or vascular material 
forming the liver and other chief viscera, fat, marrow, milk, 
bile, tendon, cartilage, bone, wood, stone, bronze, gold, silver, 
and other metals. These examples show that Aristotle's 

'■■• De Gener. et Corr. i. c. 10, 3286. 
f Physics, iii. cc. G and 7. 

I H. A. i. c. 1, s. 1 ; P. A. ii. c. 2, 6476, ii. c. 9, 6556 ; De Gener. et 
Corr. i. c. 1, B14a. 


homoeomeria are materials, some of which may be consti- 
tuent tissues. 

It is evident from Aristotle's definition of homceomerion 
and anhomoeomerion that his views were dependent to some 
extent on the way some words were used by the ancient 
Greeks. This causes some difficulty in a few cases. He 
explains that some constituent parts of animals may be 
considered to be homoeomeria, if their material only is 
considered, or anhomoeomeria, if the functions are taken 
into account, and that the only reason for classifying skin, 
membrane, nail, horn, &c., with the homoeomeria is that the 
name of any one of them happens to be used to denote a 
part of it also.* 

Considerations based on the homogeneity of the parts 
do not appear to be important in Aristotle's views on the 
homoeomeria ; for instance, he says that they may vary in 
themselves, and that blood, which is one of the best defined 
of his homoeomeria, may be of varying degrees of consist- 
ency, turbidity, and temperature, even in the same animal.! 

The terms " homoeomeria " and " anhomoeomeria " 
appear to be Aristotle's own, but the distinction involved in 
their use had been expressed by Plato, in Protag. xviii., 
where he prefers to consider justice, temperance, and holi- 
ness to be parts of virtue in the same sense as the mouth, 
nose, and eyes are parts of the face, rather than that they 
are like parts of a block of gold, which differ from the 
whole and from one another only in size. 

Aristotle's third degree of composition may now be 
considered. The homoeomeria are combined to form the 
anhomoeomeria, of which he gives many examples, such as, 
for instance, the face, eye, tongue, arm, foot, wing, and the 
heart and other chief viscera. These show that his anhomoe- 
omeria are parts having definite forms or functions. This 
is in accordance with his own statements. He tells us that 
the heart, like the other chief viscera formed of vascular 
material, is of the nature of a homceomerion, but is also an 
anhomoeomerion, because it has a definite form.t Again, 
his anhomoeomeria may be characterized by possessing a 
capability of performing work, of doing something. § 
Generally speaking, his organic anhomoeomeria are members 
or organs of the body, and he considered the bodies of some 

- P. A. ii. c. 9, 6556. | Ihid. ii. c. 2, 647i. 

I Ihid. ii. c. 1, 647a. 

§ H, A, i. c. 3, ss. 2 and 3 ; P. A. ii. c. 1 ; G. A. i. c. 18, 7226. 


animals, e.g., men, birds, and fishes, to be made up of 
anhomoeomeria. His examples of anhomoeomeria are 
almost entirely taken from the animal kingdom, but it is 
clear that a branch of a tree or a leaf, a wooden ball, a table, 
or a sword would be anhomoeomeria. 

The distinction made by Aristotle between anhomoe- 
omeria and homoeomeria corresponds, in an elementary way, 
with the modern distinction between the organs of the body 
and the tissues of which they consist, a distinction mainly 
due to the labours of Bichat, who lived as late as the end of 
the eighteenth century. Aristotle's homoeomeria, however, 
include not only constituent parts of the organs, but also 
matters which can be regarded as secretions and ejecta only. 

Aristotle knew but very little indeed of the structure or 
composition of the homoeomeria. Modern anatomists 
break up organic homoeomeria, such as fat, skin, and flesh, 
into cells, muscle fibres, and connective and other tissues, 
but he does not appear to have known anything of these. 
It may be suggested that the vesicles, which he believed 
were formed in the process of spontaneous generation, were 
some kind of animal or vegetable cells, but there is nothing 
to support such a suggestion in the rest of his works. The 
following, in fact, seems to represent all he knew about the 
structure or composition of his homoeomeria. He knew of 
the presence of fat in the substance of the liver, in flesh, 
and in milk, he knew also that certain fibrous structures 
occur in flesh, and he was aware that "fibres," corresponding 
with what is now called fibrin, could be extracted from blood, 
after it had been drawn from the body of an animal. 

In Chapter ix. a detailed account will be given of 
Aristotle's homoeomeria. 



There are many passages in Aristotle's works which 
show that he contemplated writing a separate treatise on 
plants, and it is probable that he wrote a treatise of this 
kind. No work on plants, however, which can be assigned 
with confidence to Aristotle has been found. There is a 
small Aristotelian treatise entitled Be Plantis, considered by 
some to be one of Aristotle's genuine works, but usually 
admitted to be spurious. The only genuine sources from 
which his views on plants can be obtained are, in fact, a 
large number of passages which occur, almost incidentally, in 
some of his works, particularly his History of Animals, Parts 
of Animals, Generation of Animals, De Anima, and the 
Parva Naturalia. It will be best to consider these passages, 
before discussing further the Aristotelian treatise on plants. 

The passages in which Aristotle distinguishes plants 
from animals on the one side, and inanimate matter on the 
other, have been referred to already in Chapter v. There 
it will be seen that, according to him, plants have only the 
lowest form of vital principle — the nutritive, that they do 
not move from place to place, but exhibit movements due to 
growth and decay, and that they have no sensory faculty, 
although they are affected in some way by certain external 

These views, compared with those of Anaxagoras, 
Empedocles, Democritus, and Plato, on the nature of the 
vital principle of plants, are less fanciful, and indicate a much 
more practical and reasonable conception of plant life. It is 
clear from the Timceus and from fragments from Anaxagoras 
Empedocles, and Democritus, such as, for example, some 
which are given in the Aristotelian treatise, De Plantis, i. 
cc. 1 and 2, that they believed that plants had sensation and 
cognition, that, in fact, they were capable of feelings of joy 
and sadness. 

The consideration of the nature of the vital principle, or 


soul, of plants occupied the minds of many who wrote about 
them, and attempts were made to determine in what part 
or parts of the plant the soul resided. The general opinion 
was that the soul of a plant resided in the " heart " or pith, 
and, as late as the sixteenth century, Csesalpinus seriously 
considered this subject. After deciding that a very suitable 
position for the soul of a plant is in the middle of the part 
where the stem starts from the root, he argued that a soul 
existed even in the axil of each leaf, and finally concluded 
that the soul of a plant was veluti in omnes partes distrihutum, 
or distributed as it were to all parts of the plant.* 

The statement that plants are affected in some way by 
external influences! is not clear, but the context suggests 
that the effects of cold and heat on the plants were in 
Aristotle's mind. 

Eespecting the nutrition of plants, he says that they 
obtain food by means of their roots,! which he compares 
with the mouth of an animal, § and with the blood-vessels 
of the umbilical cord.|| Their food, he says, must be liquid 
and, although they seem to be nourished by one substance 
only, viz., water, yet they are nourished by more than one 
substance, for earth is in combination with the water. 11 
Plants, he says, obtain their food from the earth in a digested 
state, wherefore waste matters are not produced in plants, 
which use the earth and its heat in place of a stomach.** 

Aristotle did not know anything about the nutritive 
importance of the leaves and other green parts, but his 
statement about the complex nature of the food of plants is 
correct as far as it goes. The most remarkable parts of his 
statements about the nutrition of plants are, however, those 
relating to the function of the soil and the consequent 
absence of waste matters in plants. He is reasoning, as he 
often does, by analogy with animals. The food taken up by 
the roots required no elaboration so as to separate the use- 
ful from the waste parts ; this process had been effected, so 
Aristotle believed, by means of the soil and its heat. The 
plants received a food which corresponded with that which, 
in animals, passed from the stomach and small intestines 
into the blood. No waste products, so Aristotle says, were 
formed. This view was held for many centuries after 

■^ De Plantis, Florence, 1583, p. 10. f De Anima, ii. c. 12, 424a. 

I P. A. iv. c. 7, 683&. § De Javent. et Scnect. c. i, 468a-. 

II G. A. ii. c. 7, 7456. II De Gener. et Corr. ii. c. 8, 335fl. 

*- P. A. ii. c. 3, 650a, ii. c. 10, 655&. 


Aristotle's time, but was disproved by Joachim Junge 
(1587-1657). In Cap. 2 of Fragment v., on the hfe of 
plants, in his De Plantis Doxoscopice Phijsicce Minores, he 
says that plants have their own waste products, and asks 
who would assert that plants have the peculiar property of 
drawing from the soil that only which is suitable for their 
own material.* 

Aristotle says that plants do not respire,! but it should be 
borne in mind that he did not believe that any living thing 
respired unless it had lungs. It was on this account that 
he held that fishes, crustaceans, molluscs, and many other 
animals did not respire. Anaxagoras, Diogenes, Democritus, 
and other ancient philosophers believed that all living things, 
or, at least, all animals, respired. This is asserted by 
Aristotle, when discussing the views of others on respiration.! 
Brisseau-Mirbel says that Anaxagoras believed that the 
leaves of plants absorbed and gave out the air.§ There does 
not seem to be any extant fragment of Anaxagoras which 
sets out the action of the leaves in this manner, but in the 
Aristotelian treatise, De Plantis, i. c. 2, it is stated that, 
according to Anaxagoras, plants also have ■b-vow, a breath or 

Aristotle says that plants are not affected by sleeping and 
waking (since they are without sense organs or sensation), 
but by what must be considered to be like sleep. || This 
is consistent with his belief that although plants have no 
sensation yet they are affected, as stated before, by certain 
influences. There is nothing to show that he was referring 
to the phenomenon of sleeping and waking, evidenced by 
the drooping and closing of flowers in the evening and their 
expansion in the morning. 

According to Aristotle, there was no distinction of sexes 
in plants, but the male and female principles or powers were 
blended in them, so that they generated from themselves, 
the products of generation being the so-called seeds, ^ which 
were produced from the superfluous foodof the plants.** 
Some plants, however, present a certain small difference like 
a sexual difference, for they do not bear fruit but contribute 
to the ripening of the fruit of other trees, such as, for 

'■^' Joachimi Jungii Optisciila Botanica-Physica, Coburg, 1747, p. 147. 

I De Anima, i. c. 5, 4106. | De Eespir. c. 2, 4706. 

§ Elemens de Physiol, veget. et de Botanique, Paris, 1815, p. 503. 

II De Somno, dc, c. i. 454a and 6. IT G. A. i. c. 23, 731a. 

** P. A. ii. c. 3, 650a; iv. c. 5, 681a. 



example, the fig and the wild fig,* He explains more fully, 
in H. A. V. c. 26, s. 3, the action of the wild fig. In wild 
figs, according to him, is an insect called Pse?i, which, after 
passing through its larval and pupal stages, flies out and 
enters the unripe fruit of the cultivated fig trees. The effect 
produced is, so Aristotle says, that the figs do not fall off the 
trees, and, for this reason, the growers attach branches of 
the wild fig to the cultivated trees, and also plant the two 
kinds of trees close together. 

This shows that he was aware of the custom of growers 
of figs to use branches of the Wild Fig {Caprificus) to effect 
the process, so well known by the name caprification, by 
which the growers believed that the ripening of the figs was 
hastened. The process of artificial fertilization of the date 
palm by applying the flowers of the male tree to those of 
the female tree was also practised by the Ancients, although 
they did not understand the process. The case of the fig 
was different, for both its male and its female flowers are 
carried by the inner parts of the hollow fleshy receptacle 
which forms the greater part of the fig. In this case, the 
beneficial result, if any, is believed to be due, just as Aristotle 
believed, to the piercing of the fruit by a kind of gall-insect 
(Cynips) carried by the branches of the wild fig. 

Aristotle seems to have taken a very limited view of the 
functions of plants, for he says that they have no other 
duty but the production of seeds and fruit, t He states 
incorrectly that willows and black poplars do not produce 
seeds.! Some plants, he says, are fertile and others sterile. § 

In what way Aristotle believed that the male and female 
principles or powers were blended in plants is not clear. 
His statement that some plants are fertile and others sterile 
indicates that he knew of the existence of what are now 
called dioecious plants, but it is also clear that he did not 
know that the sterile plants bore the male and the fertile 
ones the female flowers. 

Aristotle came near to discovering that hermaphroditism 
which is found in the majority of flowering plants, but his 
views on the production of fruits and seeds prevented him 
from making the discovery. He seems to have been con- 
vinced that this production was the result of a process of 
nutrition. Plants, according to him, had a nutritive soul or 

- G. A. i. c. 1, 715&. f Ibid. i. c. 4, 717a. 

\ Ibid. i. c. 18, 726a. § H. A. iv. c. 11, s. 2. 


vital principle only, and their fruits and seeds were a residue 
from the superfluous food of the plants. He held, it is true, 
that the male and female principles or powers were blended 
in some way in the plants, but he failed to discover the 
sexual importance of the stamens and pistils. The import- 
ance of these organs was not understood, in fact, until the 
seventeenth century, when Camerarius concluded that, in 
the vegetable kingdom, reproduction by means of seed is not 
effected unless the anthers (apices) have duly prepared the 
plant itself.* This conclusion was based on a number of 
experiments, e.g., he observed that the castor-oil plant yielded 
empty capsules and not perfect fruits if the male flowers were 
removed before the anthers opened. Von Sachs says that all 
historic records concur in proving that Camerarius was the 
first who attempted to solve the question of sexuality in 
plants by experiment.! ^ 

Aristotle refers to parasitical plants, and says that these 
grow upon other plants, or may even be quite free, e.g., a 
kind of Stonecrop (Epipetron) from Parnassus will grow for 
a long time when merely hung over a peg. I When describing 
the reproduction of bees, he says that some believed that 
they did not reproduce sexually but obtained their young 
from certain plants, e.g., some kind of honeysuckle or reed.§ 
Again, he says that the Chloris, which was probably the 
greenfinch, made its nest of a plant called Syitiphyton, which 
it pulled up by the roots, and that its nest was lined with 
grass, hair, and wool.|| 

In addition to those already mentioned, Aristotle also 
mentions, mostly in passages relating to the food of various 
animals, many other trees, shrubs, and herbs, some only of 
which can be identified at all satisfactorily, e.g., species of 
oak, elm, almond, myrtle, rose, mistletoe, vetch, thyme, and 
various grasses. He mentions several plants from which, he 
says, bees obtain wax, e.g., species of clover, lily, myrtle, and 
broom, H and several which are usually planted near the 
hives, e.g., species of wild pear, bean, lucerne, poppy, myrtle, 
and almond.** 

The above represents most of the work of Aristotle on 
plants, in so far as this has been preserved in his genuine 

* Dc Sexii Plantarum Epistola, Tubingen, 1694, p. 40. 
f History of Botany from 1530 to 1860, Garnsey's translation, 
Oxford, 1890, p. 385, J P. A. iv. c. 5, 681a. 

§ H. A. V. c. 18, s. 1. II Ibid. ix. c. 14, s. 2. 

II Ibid. ix. c. 27, s. 22. -* Ibid. ix. c. 27, s. 26. 


writings. It has been mentioned already that he probably 
wrote a separate work on plants, but that no work on plants, 
which can be assigned with confidence to him, has been 
found. Such a work seems to be referred to by Athenseus 
and Pollux, for, referring to a certain kind of date without a 
stone, Athenaeus says : — " And Aristotle speaks thus in his 
treatise on plants,"* while Pollux says : — " It is also written 
in the work of Aristotle or Theophrastus relating to plants."! 

There is one and, apparently, only one work on plants 
which might be Aristotle's own, and this is the small 
Aristotelian treatise previously mentioned. There are 
several editions of it, the earliest which I have seen being 
one printed at the end of an edition of the Geoponica, 
usually attributed to Constantine VII., and published at 
Basle, in 1539, so it is believed. On the title-page is a 
statement in Latin, which reads : — " Also two Greek books 
on plants by Aristotle, which books have lately been saved 
from destruction and are restored for the first time in this 
edition for the use of the learned." In these books, plants 
are divided into trees, shrubs, grasses, and garden plants, 
such as cabbages, and also into house, garden, and wild 
plants ; roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and other parts 
of plants are discussed, and also plants yielding milky juices 
and certain odoriferous plants of Syria and Arabia. It is 
also stated that plants grown in some localities become 
changed to other kinds when transferred to other localities, 
like a plant called Belenion, which is injurious when grown 
in Persia, but edible when transplanted to Egypt or Pales- 
tine, and reference is made to some date and fig trees which 
were said to be flowerless. 

Bef erring to this treatise, Brisseau-Mirbel says : — " In 
the Middle Ages, an impostor dared to publish under the 
name of this philosopher a work entitled De Plantis, a crude 
collection of mistakes and absurdities, which nobody to-day 
attributes to Aristotle."! The mistakes and absurdities are 
not such, however, as to justify a belief that the work is 
spurious, and it must be conceded that, in accordance with 
Aristotle's own practice, there are repetitions, in substance 
at least, of statements found in his genuine works. These 
repetitions relate to the presence of a soul in plants, and the 
absence of sensation or motion, the distinction between 

^= Deipn. xiv. c GG. \ x. 170. 

\ j^lemens de Physiol, veget. et de Botanigue, Paris, 1815, p. 505. 


plants and animals by reason of the absence or presence of 
sensation, the want of a distinction of sexes in plants, the 
influence on plants of something which is not sleep, but is 
Hke sleep, and the primary or entire work of plants, viz., the 
production of fruits and seeds. The treatise is also written 
in a truly Aristotelian manner, plain statements being made 
in a concise form. The evidence obtainable from a con- 
sideration of the particular style and Greek words and phrases 
used does not appear to be worth anything, for, in the 
preface to the treatise, it is stated : — " I have found much 
diflticulty and also confusion of names because of frequent 
changes of translation from our language to Latin, then 
from Latin to Arabic, from Arabic again to Latin, and lastly 
from Latin to our language." It would be remarkable if 
any striking resemblance between the original Greek text, if 
any, and the De Plant is could be found after such a series 
of changes from one language to another, and, at best, the 
De Plantis can be only an imperfect version of such an 

Further, the De Plantis is remarkable for referring to 
Plato specifically in its very first chapter, for a reference to 
Plato by name is very unusual in Aristotle's works and 
especially so in those relating to the Natural Sciences. In 
the De Plantis, Egypt, ^Ethiopia, Syria, Palestine, and 
Persia are referred to in a more familiar way than is usual 
in Aristotle's genuine works. Again, the passages referred 
to by Athenoeus and attributed by him to Aristotle, viz., one 
in Deipn. xiv. c. 66, relating to dates without stones, and 
another, in Deipn. xiv. c. 68, relating to grafted pears, do not 
occur in the De Plantis. 

In conclusion, neither the evidence for nor that against 
the opinion that the De Plantis is a version of one of 
Aristotle's works is sufficient. The balance of evidence, 
however, goes to show that the De Plantis is spurious. 



To the readers of Aristotle's zoological works, especially 
Books i.-iii. of his History of Animals, the question of the 
nature and extent of his dissections constantly presents 
itself. This question may be considered with respect to 
(1) the lower animals, and (2) Man, including the human 

With respect to the lower animals, Aristotle often speaks 
of the necessity for ascertaining the structure and arrange- 
ment of their parts by means of dissections. There are 
also many passages which clearly indicate the use of the 
dissecting-knife, e. g., parts of the description of the cham- 
aeleon,* of the eyes of the mole,f and of the development 
of the chick in the egg.t Again, some of his descriptions 
of the internal parts of animals, e.g., his description of the 
gall-bladder of the Pelamid,§ of the complex stomach of a 
ruminant, II and of the aorta and its branches,1l indicate 
more than a laying open of the body of an animal and a 
casual inspection of its internal parts. There are also 
passages, e.g., those describing the movements of the heart 
and sides of a chamseleon, after it had been dissected,** and 
that referring to the movements of the heart after its 
removal from a tortoise,! t which show that Aristotle vivi- 
sected some of the lower animals. 

There are also statements which show that the dissec- 
tions, if any, on which they were based were very carelessly 
performed, e.g., the statements that the wolf and the lion 
have only one bone in the neck and not separate vertebrae, 1 1 
and that the stomach of a dog or lion is not much wider 

* H. A. ii. c. 7, s. 5. f Ibid. i. c. 8, s, 3. 

I Ibid. vi. c. 3, ss. 1-4. § Ibid. ii. c. 11, s. 7. 

II Ibid. ii. c. 12, ss. 5-6. 11 Ibid. in. c. 4, ss. 3-6. 

■'"''• Ibid. ii. c. 7, s. 5. f | Dc Juvent. et Scnect. c. 2, 4686. 

X\ p. A. iv. c. 10, 686rt ; H. A. ii. c. 1, s. 1. 


than the intestine.* Most of these statements were pro- 
bably made by others and adopted by Aristotle without 
further examination, and, in any case, it would be unfair to 
estimate the value of his dissections by giving too much 
weight to such statements. His work on animals should 
be taken as a whole. 

It is probable that Aristotle was taught dissection when 
quite young, for his father was one of the Asclepiads, an 
order of priest-physicians, who are said to have practised 
dissection and to have taught it to their children.! He must 
have made many examinations of the internal parts of 
mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, to which he 
often refers, and his extensive knowledge of many cephalo- 
pods, molluscs, echinoderms, and fishes, must have been the 
result of numerous dissections. A list of animals which 
Aristotle appears to have dissected will be found at the end 
of this chapter. It is probable, from the way in which 
adverbs of position, such as eix-npoaQiv and vTroKaico, are used 
in many passages, that Aristotle often dissected animals 
arranged in a vertical or at least highly inclined position. 

With respect to human bodies, the chief question to be 
decided is whether or no Aristotle ever dissected one of 
these. In order to arrive at a conclusion, it is proposed to 
examine the evidence obtainable from Aristotle's writings, 
and then to examine the evidence furnished by the writings 
of other authors or by other sources of information. 

After describing the external parts of the human body, 
Aristotle says that the internal parts are less known than 
those of other animals and that, in order to describe them, 
it becomes necessary to examine the corresponding parts 
of animals which are most nearly related to Man.+ He 
also states that the human stomach is like that of a dog, and 
is not much wider than the intestine, § that the occiput is 
empty,!! and that the heart is above the lungs. II These 
passages clearly indicate that Aristotle never dissected a 
human body, and there are very few passages which suggest 
that he did so. His description of the position of the heart, 
inH.A. i. c. 14, ss. 1 and 2 ; ii. c. 12, s. 2, and P. A. iii. c. 4, 
6666, has often been cited to show that he dissected the 
human body, but it is not by any means sufficient. On 
account of the importance of these passages in connection 

'•= H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 7. f Galen's De Anat. Administr, ii. c. 1. 

I H. A. i. c. 13, s. 1. § Ihid. i. c. 13, s. 9. 

I! Ihid. i. c. 7, i. c. 13, s. 2. 11 Ihid. i. c. 14, s. 1. 


with the question of Aristotle's dissections, it will be neces- 
sary to discuss them at some length. 

The heart, Aristotle says, is more to the left side in 
Man, being inclined a little away from the middle line, in 
the upper part of the chest, towards the left breast.* This 
is substantially correct, for about two-thirds of the volume 
of the heart lies to the left of the median plane and its apex 
is directed towards the lower part of the left breast. The 
description may have been written, however, after an exami- 
nation of the position of the heart of one of the lower 
animals, supplemented by an external examination of the 
part of the human chest against which the heart seems to 
beat. It is evident that the beat of the heart, usually per- 
ceptible about three inches to the left of the median plane 
and in the fifth intercostal space, would suggest that the 
heart lies more on the left side of the chest. Galen says 
that it was on this account that the heart was believed to be 
on the left side ; he himself believed that the heart was in a 
central position.! 

Another passage sometimes cited to show that Aristotle 
dissected the human body is that in which he says that it is 
not without feelings of repugnance that we see blood, flesh, 
bones, blood-vessels, and other parts in the human body. + 
This passage seems to cut both ways ; it is as much against 
as for the opinion that Aristotle dissected the human body. 

It appears, therefore, that Aristotle's writings do not 
prove that he dissected the human body ; on the contrary, 
they contain many statements which suggest that he never 
did so. With respect to the human foetus, he seems to have 
dissected it, if only to a small extent. He says that if the 
human embryo, aborted after forty days, be put into cold 
water it becomes surrounded by a membrane, and that, if 
this be dissected away, the embryo appears to be of the size 
of a large ant, all its parts being visible and its eyes being 
large. § Again, he makes some statements, e.g., that the 
human kidneys are lobulated, which are true of the human 

Turning to the evidence obtainable from sources other 
than Aristotle's writings, it will be seen that there is a 
strong presumption against the probability that he ever dis- 
sected the human body. Among the Greeks a feeling of 

■■■' H. A. i. c. 14, s. 2, ii. c. 12, s. 2 ; P. A. iii. c. 4, 66G6. 
f De Usu Partium, vi. 2. I P A. i. c. 5, 645rt. 

IH. A. vii. c. 3, s. 4. 


repugnance against mutilation of the human body and 
against any neglect of speedy burial was prevalent. The 
execution of the Athenian commanders after the Battle of 
ArginusEe, part of the charge being that they neglected to 
recover and bury some of the slain, and the attacks made at 
various time by orators against those who neglected to bury 
their deceased relatives, illustrate this. The agony of 
Antigone, the sad appeal of the shade of the unburied 
Patroclus, and the fervent wishes of many of Homer's 
heroes that their funeral rites might not be neglected accord 
well with the feelings of the Greeks. So strong were these 
feelings that it is unlikely that anyone could dissect a human 
body without exciting bitter feelings against himself. To 
meet this difficulty, some have held that Aristotle dissected 
the human body secretly. An assertion of this kind can 
neither be proved nor disproved. 

Not many years after Aristotle's time, dissections of the 
human body were made at Alexandria, and Galen refers in 
many passages to dissections of this kind made by Erasis- 
tratus and Herophilus, about B.C. 280. These anatomists 
were followers of Aristotle, and their dissecting operations 
show that his oft-repeated advice about the importance of 
dissections did not fail to be effective. The anatomists of 
Europe were less fortunate than those of the Alexandrian 
Medical Schools ; Galen's dissections were mostly made on 
Barbary apes, and, at a much later time, the anatomists of 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries experienced dilH- 
culties in obtaining human bodies for purposes of dissection. 

From the above it may be concluded that Aristotle dis- 
sected many of the lower animals, and that, judged in 
relation to the anatomical knowledge of his time, his dissec- 
tions were carefully performed. It may be said also that he 
dissected, to a small extent, the human foetus, but that he 
did not further dissect the human body. 

In various parts of his works, one or more of the internal 
parts of about one hundred and ten animals are described in 
sufficient detail to suggest that he dissected them. It is 
practically certain that he did not dissect some of these, 
e.g., the hippopotamus and the crocodile, his knowledge of 
which seems to depend chiefly on Herodotus, but there are 
many for which definite information is given of so reliable a 
nature that it is fair to conclude that he dissected them. A 
list of these animals is given in the following table : — 

























Grey Mullet 












Eed Mullet 



Grass Snake 





Star Gazer 




Domestic Fowl 



The inclusion of the elephant may cause surprise, but 
Aristotle's statements about it seem to justify its inclusion in 
the list. 


The homoeomeria are described chiefly in H. A. iii. cc. 
2-17 and P. ^. ii. cc. 1-9. It has been said that these parts 
of Aristotle's works bear some relationship to the science of 
Histology, but this is true only in a very limited degree. 
The science of Histology, in fact, cannot be said to have 
existed until Malpighi, Leeuwenhoek, and other investi- 
gators successfully used the microscope in the seventeenth 
century. How very slight the relationship is between 
Aristotle's work on the homoeomeria and the science of 
Histology will be seen from the following descriptions of his 
common homoeomeria, commencing with those included by 
him amongst the solid or dry and passing on to those 
included among the soft or liquid homoeomeria. The 
former include bone, cartilage, sinew, " fibre " and the like, 
the material forming blood-vessels, skin and membrane, and 
the latter include flesh, suet and fat, marrow, blood, serum 
and the like, and milk. 

1. Bone and Cartilage. — Aristotle says that the bones 
of viviparous quadrupeds with blood do not differ much in 
themselves, but merely in their relative degrees of hardness 
and softness, strength and weakness, and in the presence or 
absence of marrow.* He considered ordinary bone to 
contain more earthy matter than the bone found in fishes 
and, in H. A. iii. c. 7, s. 6, he says that the dolphin has 
ordinary bones and not bones like those of fishes, which are 
only analogous to ordinary bones. 

He refers particularly to the hardness of the bones of 
lions, and says that they are harder than the bones of other 
animals, for, when struck together, sparks fly just as if the 
bones were stones, f It is true that many of the bones of 
lions are very hard. According to Owen, they contain 
72"3 per cent, of inorganic constituents, or more than three 

-■■■ H. A. iii. c. 7. s. 5 ; P. A. ii. c. 9, 655a. 
f H. A. iii. c. 7, s. 6 ; P. A. ii. c. 9, 655a. 


per cent, in excess of those found in the bones of Man and 
the ox.* Whether the bones of Hons are harder than 
those of other animals would be very difficult to deter- 
mine, but many of the bones of other carnivores are very 
hard, and so also are some of the bones of hares, rabbits, 
birds, and snakes. 

Aristotle says that cartilage is of the same nature as 
bone, but differs in degree, and, like bone, does not grow 
after it has been cut away,t that in viviparous land animals 
it does not contain marrow in the same way as bones, and 
that it occurs about the ears, noses, and some extremities of 
bones in viviparous quadrupeds. I 

It is evident from these passages that he was aware of a 
close relationship between bone and cartilage, but there is 
nothing to show that he knew anything about the conver- 
sion of some cartilages into bone by ossifying processes. 
When he says that bone and cartilage differ in degree, he 
means that they manifest different degrees of certain 
qualities, such as, for example, hardness, strength, and 

In his statement about bone or cartilage not growing again, 
it is evident that he is not referring to a slicing or sever- 
ance which still leaves the sliced or severed ends in contact ; 
this is shown by his using the verb aTroxoVrw (I cut or break 
off) . A precisely similar statement is made twice in one of 
the genuine works of Hippocrates, the same verb being 
used.§ In all probability, Aristotle copied, in this instance, 
from Hippocrates. It is now known that, when a part of a 
bone or cartilage has been removed, the bone or cartilage is 
reproduced, provided the periosteum or perichondrium, as 
the case may be, has been left. Aristotle knew nothing 
of this, but he was aware of the importance of the 
periosteum in protecting the substance of the bone, for he 
says " bones which have been stripped bare of their 
membranes mortify." || In one of the genuine works of 
Hippocrates there is a passage which seems to show that 
mortification sets in when the membrane of a bone has been 
removed. H 

2. Sineivs, "Fibres," and the like. — Aristotle repeatedly 
uses the words vsopov and <"? {neuron and is) to denote certain 
constituents of the body. It is often difficult to determine 

^= Anat. Vertebr. vol. i. 18G6, p. 20. 

t H. A. iii. c. 8 ; P. A. ii. c. 9, Go5a. | H. A. iii. c. 8. 

§ Aphorisms, Section 6, § 19 and Section 7, § '28. 

I| H. A. iii. c. 11, s. 1. *\ On Fractures, § 33. 


what these were intended to be, and he has often been mis- 
judged through a careless or mistaken translation of these 
words. Considered as homoeomeria, neuron refers chiefly to 
the material of which sinews, tendons, and ligaments are 
made, and is to the material of the fibrin of the blood, the 
fibre-like vessels containing a colourless fluid in many of the 
lower animals, and various fibre-like structures, such as 
small branches of the nervous system, and the connective 
tissues extending through the flesh. 

Aristotle says that sinew is fissile longitudinally but not 
transversely, that it is very extensible, and that, when 
severed, it does not re-unite.* He also says that the fluid 
about the sinews is mucous, white, and gelatinous, and that 
the sinews are nourished by this fluid and seem to be pro- 
duced from it.t 

In the passages from Hippocrates, already referred to, it 
is stated that sinew does not re-unite after it has been cut. I 
It is probable that Aristotle copied this from Hippocrates. 
Plato's statements about sinews differ greatly from Aristotle's. 
He says that they are firmer and more glutinous than flesh, 
but softer and moister than bone, and that they are yellow 
and compounded in some way of bone and imperfectly 
formed flesh. § 

Aristotle's statement concerning the fluid about the 
sinews is incorrect. The chief function of the synovial 
fluid is to lubricate the joints, and the fluid itself is probably a 
secretion, but may be, in part at least, a product of the 
frictional action between the surfaces of the joints. 

The view sometimes expressed that Aristotle's neura 
were nerves will be discussed in Chapter xii. 

Aristotle does not give any information of importance 
about the properties of his " fibres," excepting those which 
he believed were in the blood. These "fibres" will be 
more conveniently dealt with in the part of this chapter 
relating to the blood. 

3. Material forming the Blood-vessels. — Aristotle mis- 
understood the nature of this material, for he considered 
what are now called the venae cavse, and probably some 
other veins, to be made up of skin and membrane, and the 
aorta to be very sinewy and its small branches to be quite 
sinewy. II 

■■' H. A. iii. c. 5, s. 3. f Ibid. 

I Aphorisms, Section 6, § 19 and Section 7, § 28. 

§ Timceus, 14,. \\ H. A. iii. c. 3, s. 3. 


His attempts to describe the structure of these blood- 
vessels can hardly be expected to be satisfactory. He noticed, 
however, that the walls of the arteries were stouter than 
those of the veins, but his explanation is incorrect. The 
walls of arteries and veins are similar in structure, but there 
is a much greater development of muscular and elastic 
tissues in the inner and middle coats of the walls of the 
arteries than in those of the veins. In the passage already 
referred to, from H. A. iii. c. 3, s. 3, Aristotle probably 
uses the term membrane for the inner coat of the venae 
cavae, which is somewhat readily separable from the middle 

In H. A. iii, c. 5, s. 3, it is said that the material forming 
blood-vessels can resist the action of fire, while sinew is 
entirely destroyed by it. This statement is not altogether 
fanciful, for, when pieces of the aorta of an ox are cut off 
and placed on a bright red fire, except that they very slowly 
carbonize with the formation of small blisters and the 
oozing out of a small quantity of fluid, their forms undergo 
as little alteration as if they were pieces of porcelain. Under 
the same conditions, sinews are at once twisted into fantastic 
shapes and are carbonized more rapidly. 

4. Shin and Memhi'ane. — There is but little information, 
in Aristotle's works, about these materials. He considered 
skin i^^pf^a) to be fissile and extensible, and membrane (ufxriv) 
to be of the nature of a thin, compact skin, but neither fissile 
nor extensible.* He also says that membrane does not re- 
unite after it has been cut.t He includes the urinary 
bladder among membranes, but says that it is of a special 
kind, because it is extensible, t 

5. Flesh. — This is included by Aristotle among the soft 
or fluid homoeomeria. Flesh, he says, is fissile in all direc- 
tions, § and is a material thrown down from the blood which, 
contained in numerous blood-vessels, is so universally dis- 
tributed through the flesh that blood flows at once from any 
part of the flesh when cut, even though the blood-vessels 
cannot be seen in the cut parts. || 

In the Hippocratic treatise. On Flesh, §§8 and 9, it is 
explained how the liver, the kidneys, and the flesh are 
formed as a result of some kind of coagulation of the blood. 
It would seem, at first sight, that Aristotle had written his 

- H. A. iii. c. 11, s. 1. j Ibid. 

I Ibid. iii. c. 11, s. 3. § Ibid. iii. c. 12, s. 1. 

II P. A. iii. c. 5, 668a. 


statements about the formation of flesh, after consulting 
this Hippocratic treatise. It is admitted, however, that this 
treatise was not written by Hippocrates, but by an author 
of much later date. Plato also says that flesh is normally 
formed from the blood,* but his real meaning is not clear, 
for he says that bone, flesh, and the like are all formed 
from marrow and other materials. t 

Aristotle does not appear to have known anything about 
that most remarkable property of flesh, viz., its contractility. 
This will be discussed in Chapter xiii. His reference to 
" fibres " and the like seen in flesh show that he saw, but 
did not understand the nature of, the connective tissues 
which ensheath the muscle-bundles. 

6. Suet and Fat. — Aristotle says that suet is quite hard 
and brittle when cold, but fat is liquid and does not harden, 
and that they differ with respect to the parts in which they 
occur, t Both suet and fat are formed, according to him, 
from blood, and, on this account, he concluded wrongly that 
fat is not found in animals without blood. § 

Aristotle's statement that fat is liquid and does not 
harden is true of some animals only. The comparatively 
large masses of fat in geese, ducks, and quails are nearly or 
quite liquid in the living birds, and the fat of the quail 
runs like water at as low a temperature as 50° or 60° F. 
The fat of fishes and amphibians is also fluid at compara- 
tively very low temperatures. The fat of some animals 
melts at comparatively high temperatures and, even in 
animals like pigs and horses, in which the fat is of a soft 
kind, it is not liquid in the living animals. 

7. Marroio. — In P. A. ii. c. 6, 6516, Aristotle says: 
" Marrow is of the nature of blood and is not, as some 
believe, the active generating force of semen." This is a 
refutation, more particularly of one of Plato's statements in 
the TimcBUs, 73. It is contained, he says, in the bones, and 
is quite full of blood in young animals, but is either fatty or 
suety in older animals. tl 

In very young animals the marrow is red and vascular, 
and in older animals there are the ordinary yellow marrow, 
rich in fats, and the red marrow found in the ribs, sternum, 
vertebrae, cranial bones, and the epiphyses of the long 
bones. This red marrow contains less fat, but many small 

* TimcBus, 82. \ Ibid. 73. 

\ H. A. iii. c. 13, s. 1. § P. A. ii. c. 5, 651a. 

II H. A. iii. c. 15. 


red cells, or erythroblasts, which are concerned in the pro- 
duction of the red corpuscles of the blood. 

8. Blood, Serum, and the like. — Aristotle paid much 
attention to these homoeomeria. He gives a great deal of 
interesting information about the blood, the serum or watery 
part of it, and the process of coagulation. He says that 
normally healthy blood contains a sweet juice and is of a red 
colour, and that blood which is dark in colour, either 
naturally or as a result of disease, is inferior to that which 
is of a red colour.* It is true that there is a very small 
quantity of dextrose in blood, but this is not apparent to the 
taste, the blood being slightly salt. 

Aristotle believed, as has been stated in Chapter iv., that 
blood was not an essentially hot liquid, but derived its heat\ 
from the heart, at least to a large extent. Comparing the 
blood of Man with that of some other animals, he says that 
Man has the brightest and thinnest blood, and that the ox 
and the ass have the darkest and thickest.! The colours of 
arterial blood in Man, the ox, and apparently the ass, differ 
very little from one another, and the same is true of the 
colours of the venous blood. The arterial blood of the 
pigeon and many other birds is lighter than that of Man or 
the ox. With respect to Aristotle's statement about the 
relative consistency of the blood in Man and the ox, it 
appears from Thackrah's experiments that the blood of the 
ox is thinner than that of the pig or dog, and not thicker 
than that of Man.+ Aristotle says that the blood which 
supplies the brain is small in amount and pure.§ In most 
animals the supply of blood to the brain is large, but 
Aristotle's statement is quite in accordance with several 
statements he makes about the brain, in which, he says, no 
blood-vessel is to be seen. Further, the blood supplied to 
the brain in Man and other mammals and in birds is 
scarcely, if at all, purer than that supplied to other parts. 
It is true, however, that in the Batrachia, Ophidia, Lacer- 
tilia, Chelonia, and, to a less extent, the Crocodilia, the 
structure of the heart and arrangement of the main blood- 
vessels are such that the purest blood is sent to the brain. 

There are several passages in his works showing that 
Aristotle noticed differences, or what he thought were 

* H. A. iii. c. 14, s. 1. \ Ibid. iii. c. 14, s. 3. 

I An Inquiry into the Nature and Properties of the Blood, &c., 
Wright's edition, 1834, pp. 154 and 236. 

§ P. A. ii. c. 7, 6526. 


differences, in arterial and venous blood now so called, 
although he did not understand the causes of these differ- 
ences. In P. ^. ii, c. 2, 6476, he points out that differences 
in consistency, clearness, and temperature are noticeable in 
blood taken from different parts of the same animal. Again, 
after referring to the existence of two main blood-vessels, one 
being the aorta and the other including the venae cavae, 
and pointing out that these vessels are different in character, 
he says that it is better that each should have its own blood 
supply, and that the blood of one side of the body should be 
distinct from that of the other.* He also says that the 
blood in the right cavity of the heart and that of the right 
side of the body is hotter than the rest of the blood, t 

The differences in consistency, colour, and apparent 
purity, to which he alludes in these passages, would be 
evident to his senses, but it is not clear how he decided that 
there were differences of temperature, for such differences 
as exist are very small. It is probable that his views about 
the relative temperatures of the blood in different parts of 
the body were dependent on his belief that the right side is 
more honourable than the left side, the upper part than the 
lower part, and the front than the back. 

Aristotle's statements about the coagulation of the blood 
are numerous and interesting, but before discussing them, 
the views of Plato, in particular, on this subject should be 
considered, in order to ascertain to what extent Aristotle's 
views were original. Plato, whom Aristotle does not cite, 
says that the " fibres " cause the blood to coagulate when it 
has been drawn from the body and allowed to cool, and that, 
by the nature of their composition, they maintain the blood 
at a proper degree of consistency, so that it does not become 
liquid enough to flow through the porous structures of the 
body, nor so sluggish as to flow with difficulty through the 
blood-vessels. + He also speaks of serum (ix^p), and calls it 
the watery part of the blood. § In the genuine works of 
Hippocrates there is nothing worthy of mention on the 
coagulation of the blood. There is an important passage in 
the Hippocratic treatise On Flesh, § 8, which states that 
blood coagulates on cooling, and that the " fibres" are of a 
cold nature and glutinous. This work, however, is gene- 
rally believed to have been written long after the time of 

- P. A. iii. c. 4, 6666. f Ibid. iii. c. 4, 667a. 

I Timaus, 85. § Ihid. 83. 



It has already been pointed out, in Chapter i., that it is 
very difficult to decide to what extent Aristotle was indebted 
to Plato on subjects of this kind, but on the subject of coagu- 
lation of the blood it is clear that Plato knew the main 
facts recorded by Aristotle. On the other hand, Aristotle 
does not seem to have obtained anything from Hippocrates 
on this subject. When modern writers state, as many have 
stated, that Aristotle obtained many ideas from Hippocrates, 
the distinction between the genuine works of Hippocrates 
and works written by his followers ought to be borne in 
mind. Some of the Hippocratic treatises were written 
after the time of Aristotle. 

Blood, Aristotle says, has a watery portion, called ''x^pf* 
and, in the blood of most animals, there are certain " fibres," 
called i'vssA Blood does not coagulate when these fibres 
have been removed from it. I The coagulation of the blood 
takes place, he says, not in the watery part but in the earthy 
part, during the evaporation of the watery part.§ Blood, 
according to him, is composed of earthy and watery parts, 
and needs a certain amount of water to keep it liquid and 
also a certain amount of heat, and therefore it can be 
coagulated by heating so as to evaporate the water and by 
cooling so as to drive off heat together with watery vapour. |1 
He believed also that some animals had a hasty temper in 
consequence of the many "fibres" in their blood, and he 
explains that the " fibres " are like so many hot embers in 
the blood, and act like the hot embers of a vapour bath.H 

The above passages show clearly that Aristotle con- 
sidered that blood had two constituents at least, vu., serum 
and certain fibres which correspond with what is now called 
fibrin and is readily separable from blood by beating it with 
a twig. He gives but little information about the nature of 
the fibres themselves. It is clear, however, that he believed 
that they were solid bodies of a hot nature existing in the 
blood of the living animal. These solid bodies, according to 
him, constituted the blood clot, when the blood was coagu- 
lated. His explanation of the process of coagulation by 
cooling so as to get rid of heat and water does not take 
account of the fact that the clot forms as a separate mass in 
a large quantity of serum, only a very small quantity of 
water passing away during the cooling. That fibrin is 

•:= P. A. ii. c 4, 651a.. f Ibid. ii. c. 4, 6506 ; H. A. iii. c. 6. 

I H. A. iii. c. 6. § P. A. ii. c. 4, 6506. 

II Meteorol iv. c. 7, ss. 10-13. II P. ^. ii. c. 4, 6506 and 651rt. 


formed after the blood has been drawn from the body, 
and that this fibrin has a tendency to form meshworks in 
which rolls of red blood corpuscles, like rolls of coins, are 
entangled, and that the fibrin and corpuscles form the chief 
part of the blood clot, are facts which were not ascertained 
until many centuries after Aristotle's time. 

The blood of oxen, Aristotle says, coagulates more quickly 
than that of other animals, and the blood of the deer, roe, and 
Bouhalis, probably the Bubaline Antelope, does not coagu- 
late.* In another passage, in il. ^. iii. c. 6, a somewhat 
different statement is made, for he says that " fibres " do not 
occur in the blood of the deer, roe, and Bouhalis, and the 
blood of these animals does not coagulate like that of other 
animals, but the blood of the deer coagulates like that of 
hares, the clot not being firm, while the blood of the 
Bouhalis coagulates to a greater degree, for it thickens 
almost as much as that of sheep. 

According to Thackrah's experiments, the blood of the 
ox does not coagulate more quickly than that of other 
animals. These experiments showed that the blood of the 
ox begins to coagulate in from two to ten minutes, that of 
the sheep, pig, or rabbit in from one ^to two minutes, and 
that of the horse in from five to thirteen minutes, f 

Fibrin is formed in the blood of the deer, roe, antelope, 
and most other, if not all, mammals, but it is not normally 
present in the living body. Aristotle thought that the blood 
of the deer, the one specially referred to being the red 
deer (£\a(po(), and that of the Bouhalis coagulate, but that 
the clot was soft. When describing various causes which 
prevent blood from coagulating, John Hunter says : " Two 
deer were hunted to death .... On opening them, the 
blood was fluid, only a little thickened, and the muscles 
were not rigid." | It is known that the blood of hunted 
animals coagulates, but only imperfectly, and, as the animals 
mentioned by Aristotle are such as are commonly hunted, it 
is probable that he is referring to the imperfect coagulation 
of the blood of animals hunted to death. The blood of deer 
which have not been hunted to death coagulates in the 
usual way, a fact clearly stated by Redi.§ 

" H. A. iii. c. 6, iii. c. 14, s. 2 ; P. A. ii. c. 4, 651(i. 
f Op. cit. p. 154. 

I The Works of John Hunter, edited by James F. Palmer, 1835-37, 
vol. i. p. 239. 

§ Exper. circa res Divers. Natural. 1675, p. 160. 


Aristotle believed that ferocity and liability to fits of 
passion were dependent in some way on the quantity of 
"fibres" in the blood. According to him the "fibres" are 
earthy and solid, and, acting like the hot embers in a vapour 
bath, cause ebullition in the blood, this being the reason why 
oxen and boars are so passionate, for their blood is rich in 
"fibres."* The animals mentioned in H. A. iii. c. 6, viz., 
the deer, roe, antelope, hare, and sheep, are usually con- 
sidered to be timid, and Aristotle evidently thought that 
they had but few " fibres " in their blood, compared with 
those in the blood of the ox or boar. 

Thackrah's experiments support Aristotle's view that the 
ferocity of an animal depends, in some way, on the quantity 
of " fibres " in the blood. After making numerous experi- 
ments he concluded thus : "I never found the serum in 
such quantity as in the timid sheep, nor the crassamentum 
so abundant as in the predatory dog." t 

9. Milh. — All milk, Aristotle says, consists of a watery 
fluid, which is called whey, and a thicker part, called curd, 
the thicker kinds of milk containing more curd than other 
kinds. X He also says that the milk of the camel is thinnest, 
then that of the mare, and then that of the ass, but cow's 
milk is thicker. § There is a fatness in milk, he says, which 
causes it to become oily when the milk has been coagulated 
or In cows' milk there is more curd, he says, 
than in goats' milk, for the herdsmen say that they make 
from about nine gallons of goats' milk nineteen cheeses, each 
worth an obolos, and thirty from cows' milk.^ 

The above are the chief statements made by Aristotle 
about the nature and composition of milk. He gives 
correctly the relative degrees of consistency of the milk of 
the cow, ass, and mare, but his statement about camel's 
milk is incorrect. Camel's milk is nearly, if not quite, as 
thick as cow's milk, and contains a little less water and 
casein, more sugar, and about as much fat as the latter. 
The assertion in H. A. iii. c. 16, s. 5, is difficult to under- 
stand. Average samples of cows' milk and goats' milk 
contain nearly the same amount of casein, that in goats' 
milk being, if anything, the larger. The Greeks, it may be 
mentioned, did not esteem cows' milk for making cheese, 
goats' milk having been used most by them. 

* P. A. ii. c. 4, 6506 and 651a. \ Op. cit. p. 154. 

X H. A. iii. c. 16, s. 2. § Ibid. 

II Ibid. iii. c. 16, s. 5. «f Ibid. 


The coagulation of milk, Aristotle says, is effected both 
by rennet and the juice of the fig.* He states incorrectly 
that rennet is a kind of milk, and that it is obtained from 
the third stomach of sucking animals, t 

Rennet is obtained from the fourth stomach of ruminants 
and, in comparatively smaller quantities, from the stomachs 
of most, if not all, mammals. Rennet is usually an infusion 
of the dried fourth stomach of a calf, and owes its coagu- 
lating properties to the presence of a ferment occurring in 
the gastric juice. Aristotle believed that the hare was the 
only animal, other than ruminants, which yielded rennet, 
and that the rennet from the fawn was the best. I 

- H. A. iii. c. 16, s. 6. \ H. A. iii. c. 16, s. 6 ; P. A. iii. c. 15, 676a. 

\ Ibid. 




It has been explained already, in Chapter vi., that 
Aristotle's anhomoeomeria were, generally speaking, organs 
or parts having definite forms or functions. His descrip- 
tions of these anhomoeomeria are very incomplete, and vary 
much in value, a few, e.g., the blood-vessels, being described 
at great length, while others are described in very general 
terms, and some important anhomoeomeria are merely men- 
tioned, or not referred to at all. On the other hand, some 
interesting details are given about structures, which are not 
generally known, such as, for example, certain bones in the 
hearts of horses and oxen. His anhomoeomeria are de- 
scribed chiefly inH. A. i. cc. 7-14, ii. cc. 8-12, iii. cc. 1-11, 
and P. A. ii.-iv., and these parts of his works contain most of 
his extant writings on comparative anatomy. 

In the following descriptions, his most important state- 
ments about the various anhomoeomeria, except the loco- 
motory organs, which will be dealt with in Chapter xiii., will 
be discussed, and, when discussing any particular set of 
structures, those of Man will be taken first and then those 
of other mammals, and of birds and other animals. 

A. — Skeletal and Epidermal Structures. 

a. Bones and Cartilages. — Aristotle describes the bones 
of the human head rather fully, while he does little more 
than mention and indicate the relative positions of other 
parts of the human skeleton. For other animals, his 
descriptions are limited to a few bones, e.g., the ribs, the 
astragali, and the pelvis. He gives but little information 
about the cartilages. 

He did not consider the fore part of the frontal bone to 
be part of the human cranium, which he defined to be the 
part of the skull covered by hair, the forehead being a part 



of the face.* According to Aristotle, the front part of the 
cranium, the sinciput, is developed after birth and is the 
last bone of the body to harden.! He erroneously believed 
that the back part of the head, the occiput, was full of air.l 
This statement v^^ill be briefly discussed in Chapter xii. 

Aristotle says that the cranium of Man has six bones, 
and that two of these are situated about the ears, and are 
small compared with the others. § He also says that they 
are connected by sutures, three usually running into one 
another in triquetrous manner, in men, and one running 
round the skull, in women, but that a man's skull had been 
seen without sutures. || 

The six bones referred to above are the occipital, the 
parietals, the temporals, and part of the frontal. Aristotle's 
description of the sutures is incomplete and incorrect. 
Generally the number and arrangement of the cranial 
sutures is the same both in men and women. Looking 
down on the top of a normally developed adult skull, the 
sagittal suture and the right and left halves of the coronal 
suture are seen to converge to a point. The description 
may refer to these, or, assuming the skull to be viewed in 
back elevation, it may refer, in a similar way, to the sagittal 
and lambdoid sutures. The chief variations of the sutures 
are due to their partial obliteration and the presence of a 
frontal suture continuous with the sagittal. 

Of the few ancient writers who have described the 
cranial sutures, not one seems to have correctly explained 
their arrangement. Hippocrates says that it depends on 
the relative development of prominences at the front and 
back of the head, and compares the various arrangements 
to the letters or symbols T, i, I, and X ^. Galen's descrip- 
tion, in his On the Use of Parts, ix. 7, is similar to that 
given by Hippocrates. 

Aristotle's statement that a man's skull without sutures 
had been seen was probably taken from Herodotus, ix. 83, 
where it is said that, after the battle of Plataea, a skull 
without sutures and all of one bone was found. The 
sutures become indistinct in the skulls of old people, but a 
cranium without sutures is very rarely seen. Instances of 
obliteration of cranial sutures seem to be most common 

- H. A. i.e. 7 and c. 8, s. 1. f Ibid. i. c. 7. 

I Ibid. i. c. 7, i. c. 13, s. 2 ; P. A. ii. c. 10, 6566. 
§ H. A. iii. c. 7, s, 2. |1 Ibid. i. c. 7, iii. c. 7, p. 2, 

fl Oil Wounds in the Head, c. 1. 


among Negroes. Two skulls of this kind, with the coronal, 
sagittal, and parts of the lambdoid sutures nearly or quite 
obliterated, may be seen at the Natural History Museum, 
South Kensington. These skulls came from Ashanti and 
from near Izavo, British East Africa, respectively. 

No information of any importance about the other bones 
of the head is given by Aristotle, nor is any information 
worthy of note given by him about other bones of the 
human body, other than the ribs. He says : " On each side 
of the body are eight ribs belonging to the upper and lower 
parts of the trunk, for I have not heard anything worthy of 
credit about the seven-ribbed Ligurians." * 

Usually there, are twelve ribs on each side of the 
human body, the eleventh and twelfth being unconnected 
to the sternum. It is not at all clear which are the eight ribs 
to which Aristotle refers, or why he does not take account of 
the remaining ribs. The Ligurians were short but strong 
and brave people, who lived in a strip of maritime country 
extending from the mouth of the Ehone to Pisse, in Etruria. 
Schneider says, in his note on H. A. i. c. 10, s. 6, that the 
tale of the fewer ribs of the Ligurians probably had an 
origin similar to that current among some people about the 
ribs of animals, e.g., some Carniolans assign more ribs to 
the larger or better breeds of sheep. It may be mentioned 
that, in Man, an increased number of ribs is sometimes 
found, and, less frequently, a reduced number. 

Aristotle says that no animal with many toes, e. g., 
Man, has astragali or knuckle-bones. t Man has astragali, 
but they are very unsymmetrical and would therefore be 
neglected by Aristotle. This will be further explained later 
in his description of bones and cartilages. 

In H. A. iii. c. 7, s. 2, it is stated that the cranium is not 
made in the same way in all animals, for it is formed in a 
single bone in some, such as the dog. This is true of the 
craniums of very old dogs, and some other animals, in 
which the sutures become obliterated. 

Aristotle makes the erroneous statement, in more than 
one passage, that the crocodile moves its upper jaw, and is 
the only animal which does so. I The assertion was 
probably copied from Herodotus, ii. 68, but Aristotle proceeds 
to give a remarkably ingenious explanation. He says that 
the crocodile's feet are so small that they are useless for 

•:- H. A. i. c. 10, s. G. f Ibid. ii. c. 2, s. 10. 

I H. A. i. c. 9, s. 6, iii. c. 7, s. 3 ; P. A. iv. c. 11, 6916. 


seizing and gripping prey, but Nature has provided the 
crocodile with a mouth of such a kind as to compensate for 
this defect. A downward blow, he says, is more powerful 
than one delivered upwards, and so also a downward motion 
of the upper jaw is more effective for seizing and holding 
prey than an upward movement of the lower jaw.* The 
fact that the crocodile's lower jaw is moved is liable to 
escape notice chiefly because it extends some distance behind 
the head. 

In the neck of the lion and of the wolf, Aristotle says, 
there is, for the sake of strength, only one bone.t These 
passages have been specially cited by some writers to show 
that Aristotle made anatomical observations carelessly. It 
would be more correct to say that, with respect to the 
passages referred to, he made no anatomical observations at 
all, but merely expressed a popular belief. 

Aristotle gives but little information about the backbone 
of animals. To account for the great mobility of snakes, he 
says that their vertebrae are cartilaginous and easily bent, t 
The vertebrae of snakes are made of hard bone, and they 
are numerous and loosely connected by means of ball-and- 
socket joints. For these reasons the backbones of snakes 
are ivery flexible. It is very probable that Aristotle never 
examined the skeleton of a snake, for, in another passage, 
he says that a snake has thirty ribs.§ Further, his state- 
ments about the backbones of snakes are not consistent, for, 
in H. A. iii. c. 7, s. 7, he says that they have a spinous back- 
bone, like that of a fish. 

Speaking of the chamaeleon, he says that its ribs, which 
unite together, extend downwards towards the middle line 
of its abdomen, as in fishes. [1. 

Except when agitated and puffed out with air, the 
chamseleon has deep sides and a laterally compressed body, 
not unlike that of many fishes. Numerous thin ribs run 
down to the sternum, and, behind these, some pairs of long 
and very thin ribs meet ventrally and form a series of hoops. 
The chamaeleon is one of the animals with which Aristotle 
was well acquainted, and it is practically certain that he 
dissected it. 

Aristotle says that, in the flat cartilaginous fishes, there 
is, in the position of the vertebral column, a cartilage taking 

- P. A. iv. c. 11, G916. f H. A. ii. c. 1, s. 1 ; P. A. iv. c. 10, 686«. 
I P. A. iv. c. 11, 692a. ^ H. A. ii. c. Vl, s. 12^ 
II Ibid. ii. c. 7, s. 1. 


the place of bones, and containing a marrow-like liquid.* 
This is probably a reference to the biconical masses or 
remains of the notochord, which extends through the carti- 
laginous centre, but exists in the long as well as the flat 
cartilaginous fishes. 

While dealing with cartilages, it may be stated that 
Aristotle was aware of the existence of cartilages at the ends 
of some bones, but he did not understand the relationship 
between them, and he erroneously speaks of the external 
generative organs of some animals as if they were cartila- 

Aristotle did not believe that the seal had a humerus, for 
he states that it has stunted feet,t and that it is, as it were, 
a stunted animal, because its fore feet are just behind its 
shoulder-blades. § The seal with which he was acquainted 
was that now called the Monk Seal {Monachus alhiventer) . 

In P. A. iv. c. 12, 6936, Aristotle says that the inner 
extremities of the wings of birds rest on their backs and 
take the place of shoulder-blades, and that the breast-bone 
is sharp-edged in all birds to facilitate their flight. It is 
clear, therefore, that he did not recognize the presence of a 
true shoulder-blade in birds. He knew of the existence of 
the ostrich, but did not know anything of the form of its 

The " ischion " of a bird, according to Aristotle, is like a 
thigh-bone, being long and attached in some way as far as 
the middle of the abdomen, so that, when separated, it 
might be taken for the thigh-bone, and the "thigh-bone," 
between it and the leg, to be some other bone.jl He con- 
sidered the " ischion," running along and hidden to a large 
extent within the abdomen, to be like a thigh-bone, whereas 
it is the thigh-bone ; on the other hand, he considered the 
leg proper to be the thigh, and the shank or tarsus to be the 

This explanation of his views agrees with certain im- 
portant statements made by him. He states that, although 
birds are bipeds, they cannot stand erect, and that they are 
enabled to stand as they do by reason of their " ischia " 
being long and extending forwards along the abdomen, so as 
to bring the legs to or near the centre of the bird's body.^ 
He also says that the " ischion " is like a thigh and of such 

* H. A. iii. c. 8. + Ihid. i. c. 10, s. 4. 

I Ihid. i. c. 1, s. 9. ^ Ihid. ii. c. 1, s. 7. 

II ibid. ii. c. 8, s. 1. •! P. A. iv. c. 12, 695rt. 



a length that a bird seems to have two thighs, one next the 
shank and the other, the " ischion," extending from the 
rump to the aforesaid thigh.* Further, he says that birds 
have sinewy and not fleshy legs.t Some consider the 
" ischia " of birds to be the pelvic bones, but this explana- 
tion makes Arisotle's statements very difficult to understand. 
The astragali, or knuckle-bones, which chiefly transmit 
the downward thrust of the tibial bones, are often referred 
to by Aristotle. Those only which were elegant or fairly 

FIG. 6. 


symmetrical were used by the Ancients in playing various 
games and for divination, and it is only to such astragali as 
these that Aristotle usually gave the name. It was on 
account of want of symmetry that he excluded Man and 
most animals with many toes from among animals having 
astragali, although he refers to the twisted knuckle-bone of 
the lion, and calls the unsymmetrical and comparatively long 
and thin knuckle-bone of the lynx a half astragalus, t He 
says that most of the animals with astragali are cloven- 

* De Anim. Incessu. c. 11, 7106. 

\ H.A. ii. c. 2, s. 7 ; P. A. iv. c. 12, 695a. 

I H. A, ii. c. 2, 8. 10. 


footed,* that the astragaU are always in the hind legs and 
are arranged upright in the joints, so that the front parts 
are [inclined] outwards and the back parts inwards, and 
that the coa are turned inwards towards each other and the 
so called chia outwards, the "horns" being upwards.t 

Applying this description to the astragali of an animal, 
such as a sheep, the comparatively flat narrow sides, which 
are on the inner sides of the legs and face each other are the 
coa, and the indented or ear-like faces are the chia. Fig. 6 
(which is twice the natural size) shows the chion and front 
broad face of the left astragalus of a sheep. Some say, 
however, that the flat sides are the chia and the indented 
sides the coa. The values usually given to the faces were 
as follows : — Coon, six ; chion, one ; front broad face, four, 
and back broad face, three ; the bottom face was counted 
and not, as in the modern method of playing dice, the top 
face. The values had no apparent connection with the 
probabilities of the throws, e. g., in five hundred throws of a 
sheep's astragalus, the indented side was beneath in fifty- 
one and the flat side in forty-two throws. 

In addition to the lion and the lynx, Aristotle refers 
specifically to the knuckle-bones of the hippopotamus, 
camel, pig, ox, and a mythical animal, the Indian ass, 
having solid hoofs and one horn. 

He says that the knuckle-bones of a camel are like those 
of an ox, but ugly, and small in proportion to the size of the 
animal, t This comparison tends to show that he saw the 
knuckle-bones of both these animals. A camel's knuckle- 
bones, which may be seen in the articulated skeleton at 
University Museum, Oxford, have a marked general simi- 
larity to those of an ox, but their lower ends are less 
symmetrical. They are also small in proportion to the size 
of the camel. 

It is evident why Aristotle paid so much attention to the 
knuckle-bones. No other bones had more interest for the 
Ancients than these. Knuckle-bones of sheep or goats 
have been found in a tomb in Ithaca, and these and many 
artificial ones of bronze, lead, agate, and rock-crystal may be 
seen at the British Museum, as well as an ^ginetan vase of 
black ware in the form of a knuckle-bone. Among the 
terra-cottas in the Museum are a figure of a girl (C 715) 

* P. A. iv. c. 10, 690rt. t H. A. ii. c. 2, s. 10. 

I H. A. ii. c. 2, a. 5. 



playing with knuckle-bones, from Cyrenaica, and a beautiful 
group of astragalizontes (D 161), from Italy, while among 
the marble statues are a female player (1710) and two boys 
quarrelling over a game (1756), both found in Eome. Refer- 
ences are made, both by ancient and modern writers, to the 
use of golden astragali by the Ancients, but I have not been 
able to obtain any reliable information about the discovery 
of any of these in modern times. To-day the use of 
knuckle-bones for divination or dice-playing is almost uni- 
versal, being found among widely different peoples, such as 
the Barotse in South Africa, the Baloches, and the American 

The bones dealt with so far are of quite an ordinary and 
well-known kind ; it is proposed to deal next with two kinds 

FIG 7. 


which are not commonly known, viz., the bones of the 
hearts of some animals, and the os penis found in the 
weasel and some other animals. 

In H. A. ii. c. 11, s. 3, and P. A. iii. c. 4, 6666, it is 
stated that in horses and a certain kind of ox a bone is 
found in the heart and serves as a support. In oxen, a long 
curved bone is embedded circumferentially in the very root 
of the aorta and in the auricular end of the partition 
between the ventricles, and a much smaller bone, of tri- 
angular shape, is found in that part of the root of the aorta 
which is diametrically opposite to the large bone. Fig. 7 
(which is twice the natural size) shows these bones, in side 
elevation, taken from the heart of a three-year old ox. 


They seem to occur in all oxen; at any rate, they occurred in 
all ox hearts which I have dissected. Bones are also said to 
occur in the hearts of some horses, deer, elephants, and 
some other animals. 

In H. A. ii. c. 3, s. 5, it is stated that some animals, e.g., 
the fox, wolf, weasel, and marten, have a bony penis, and 
that of these the marten certainly has one. Many mammals 
have a bone, sometimes quite small, in the penis. Such a 
bone is found, e.g., in the rat, mouse, guinea-pig, monkey, 
and ape, and in the weasel, marten, and many other car- 
nivores, but not in the fox and wolf. In a large stoat which 
I dissected the bone was slender and curved, and about one 
inch long. 

The feet of pigs are almost always cloven, but in various 
countries and at different times instances of syndactylism 
have occurred. Aristotle seems to have been the first to 
record phenomena of this kind. He says : " There are pigs 
with solid hoofs in Illyria, Paeonia, and other places." * 
The syndactylism affects the third and fourth digits, the 
lateral toes being developed, apparently in all cases, in the 
usual way. Several instances might be given, but the 
following will be sufficient. A solid-hoofed sow, received in 
November, 1876, at the Zoological Gardens, from Cuba, 
gave birth to a litter of six, three of which were also solid- 
hoofed. One of these died, and it was found that the 
extreme distal ends of its ungual phalanges were completely 
fused together.! Solid-hoofed pigs are said to have been 
well known and abundant about the year 1823 on the 
estates then belonging to Sir Neil Menzies, of Eannoch, 
Perthshire.! Usually, the digits are not united throughout 
their length ; in fact, Mr. Bateson says that the only case 
known to him of complete union of the third and fourth 
digits, there being only a single series of bones, is in the 
Museum at Alfort.§ 

Aristotle erroneously believed that the bones of the lion, 
pig, and some other animals either contained no marrow at 
all or only a little, and this only in a few bones, e.g., the 
humerus and femur. i| In the lion there are distinct marrow 
cavities, not only in the humeral and femoral bones, but also 
in the radial, tibial, metacarpal, and metatarsal bones. The 

- H. A. ii. c. 2, s. 8. f Proc. Zool. Soc. 1877, p. 33. 

I Edin. New Philos. Journ., vol. 17, pp. 273-279. 

§ Materials for the Study of Variation, dc, 1894, p. 387. 

II H. A. iii. c. 7, s. 6, iii. c. 15 ; P. A. ii. c. C, 6516. 


marrow is not small in quantity, although an examination 
of the fractured long bones of lions shows that the cross- 
sectional areas of their marrow cavities are relatively smaller 
than those of corresponding bones of the ox, deer, and many 
other animals. Again, the long bones of the pig have a 
rather large amount of marrow, e.g., the femoral bones 
commonly have a marrow cavity more than half an inch in 

b. Skeletal Structures of Aristotle's Anaima. — Some of 
the skeletal structures of the Anaima, or animals without 
blood, are described very briefly in H. A. iv. cc. 1-7, and 
P. A. iv. c. 5, 

Aristotle speaks of the cuttle-bone of Sepia and the pen 
of Loligo, saying that each is found in the dorsal part of the 
body, that the pen is thin and somewhat cartilaginous, that 
the cuttle-bone is strong and broad, of a nature between 
that of bone and that of fish-spine, and that it is spongy and 
friable within.* 

Aristotle's descriptions of the materials of these internal 
structures is faulty, cuttle-bone being calcareous and the 
pen horny, but in other respects his statements are substan- 
tially correct. 

The external parts of crustaceans, he says, are not brittle, 
but are of a tough nature ; those of his Ostrakoderma, such 
as snails and oysters, are hard and brittle, and the external 
parts of his Entoma are neither harder nor softer than their 
internal parts.! These statements are fairly clear, except 
with respect to the Entoma, for Aristotle included among 
these such animals as scorpions, beetles, centipedes, and 
millipedes, the external parts of which are often very hard. 

He also describes the external coverings of some of the 
ascidians, saying that they are of a nature between those of 
skin and shell and can be cut like leather. J 

Aristotle compares the perforated shell of the sea-urchin, 
when divested of its skin, to a lantern. § 

c. Teeth and Horns. — Aristotle considered the teeth to be 
very hard bones. He says : "In the jaws are the teeth, the 
bone of which is partly solid and partly hollow. The bones 
of the teeth are the only ones which cannot be engraved." || 
This is clearly a reference to the enamel. 

In several passages Aristotle deals with the relationship 

- E. A. iv. c. 1, s. 12. f Ihid, iv. c. 1, ss. 2 and 3. 

\ Ihid. iv. c. 6, s. 1. § Ihid. iv. c. 5, s. 6. 

II Ihid. iii. c. 7, s. o. 


between teeth and horns. He was aware, in fact, of the 
existence of an inverse relationship between the degrees of 
development of teeth and horns, such as that referred to and 
exemplified by Owen.* Aristotle says that no animal has 
both tusks and horns, nor sharp, interlocking teeth and 
tusks or horns, t and that, in the larger animals, there is an 
excess of earthy matter, which is utilized in the formation 
of defensive weapons, e.g., tusks and horns, but that no 
animal which has horns has front teeth in the upper as well 
as the lower jaw, for Nature gives to the horns material 
which is withheld from the teeth, t 

There does not appear to be any animal known to 
Aristotle which has tusks and horns. The male tufted deer 
of China and the male muntjacs have scimitar-like tusks in 
their upper jaws and small antlers; the antlers of the tufted 
deer are much smaller than those of the muntjacs, but their 
tusks are longer. Again, the musk deer and Chinese water 
deer are w^ithout antlers, but the males have very long tusks. 
The carnivores have sharp, interlocking teeth, and many 
have exceptionally large canine teeth or tusks, but in none 
of those known to Aristotle do these project like the tusks 
of the wild boar, and he is probably referring to tusks of 
this kind, and not to all canines of large size. 

In his descriptions of the teeth, chiefly in H. A. ii. c. 3, 
ss. 8-15, and P. A. iii. c. i, Aristotle distinguishes the 
incisors, the canines, the premolars, together with the 
molars, and the wisdom teeth. The molars and premolars 
are taken together, either under the name " gomphioi " or 
under that of "broad teeth," on account of their necks and 
crowns being broad. He also distinguishes between animals 
like the lion, leopard, and dog, which are carcharodont, or 
have sharp, interlocking teeth, and animals like the horse 
and ox, which have anepallaktous teeth, or teeth with flat 
crowns. Again, he distinguishes a very large group of 
amphodont animals, with front teeth in each jaw, from a 
much smaller group, including the ox, deer, and other 
ruminants, which are non-amphodont, or have front teeth in 
the lower jaw only. The way in which he seems to have 
used these dental characters in classifying animals will be 
discussed in Chapter xv. 

He states, incorrectly, that among some animals, e.g., 
Man, the sheep, goat, and pig, the males have more teeth 

* Anat. Vertebr. iii. 1868, pp. 348-9. f H. A. ii. c. 3, s. 9. 

\ P. A. iii. c. 2, 6636 and 66ia. 


than the females,*' and this statement has often been used 
against him by critics. He also misunderstood the ar- 
rangement of the teeth of camels. He says that they have 
no front teeth in their upper jaws.t In young camels there 
are three pairs of incisors in the upper jaw, and in adult 
camels the pair of incisors next the canines persists. 

He also says that all fishes, except the parrot-wrasse, 
have sharp, interlocking teeth. I This statement does not 
appear to be an interpolation, and yet it is difficult to 
understand why Aristotle should have made it. The parrot- 
wrasse has many flat pharyngeal teeth and a parrot-like 
beak formed by the coalescence of many of its teeth, but 
Aristotle was well acquainted with the gilt-head, which has 
some strong, blunt front teeth and many rounded teeth, 
embedded like peas or beans along the sides of and within 
its mouth, and he probably knew the eagle ray and the 
female thornback skate, which have flat teeth. 

On the other hand, he makes many interesting state- 
ments, substantially or quite correct, about the teeth of 
many other animals. He says that the elephant has four 
teeth on each side, for grinding down its food, that it has 
teeth as soon as it is born, but that its tusks are not visible at 
birth. § This is true as regards the teeth on each side except 
in old elephants, which usually have only two teeth left on 
each side of the mouth. The elephant usually has, during 
its whole life, twelve cheek teeth on each side of its mouth. 
They are developed gradually and move forwards along the 
jaws at the same rate as the front ones are worn away. 
The milk tusks of male elephants are not visible at birth, 
but project beyond the gum between the fifth and seventh 
months, according to Owen, who also says that the first 
molars of the Asiatic elephant are in place and in use at 

Aristotle correctly points out how old and young dogs 
may be distinguished by means of their teeth, those of 
young dogs being white and sharp, while those of old dogs 
are dark and worn. IT He was also aware of what is called 
the " mark " in the incisor teeth of horses, for he says that 
horses differ from other animals in that their teeth become 
whiter with age, while those of other animals become 

* H. A. ii. c. 3, s. 13. 

t H. A. ii. c. 2, s. 6, ii. c. 8, s. 8 ; P. A. iii. c. 14, 674a. 
I H. A. ii. c. 9, s. 5 ; P. A. iii. c. 1, 662a. § H. A. ii. c. 3, s. 15. 
Ii Anat. Vertehr. iii. 1868, pp. 360 and 362. •! H. A. ii. c. 3, s, 12. 



darker.* Aristotle says that all the teeth of the seal are 
sharp and interlocking, because it is very closely allied to 
fishes. t This is true, but the reason given sounds strange; 
the seal being now classed M^ith the otter and other carni- 
vora. He gives a fair general description of the gastric 
mill in lobsters and crabs. He says that it is in the part 
of the stomach which is near the mouth, and that there are 
three teeth, two lateral ones and one below, t 

The gastric mill is in the hinder part of the large or 
cardiac portion of the stomach, into which the short, nearly 
vertical gullet enters. Numerous parts make up the gastric 
mill, but three are very conspicuous, two lateral and ap- 
proximately horizontal teeth and a median dorsal one 
between the posterior ends of the lateral ones. 

In H. A. iv. c. 4, s. 7, Aristotle says that KochUas, 
probably Helix, has small, sharp, and delicate teeth. This 
seems like a reference to the lingual teeth, and, if so, the 
statement shows that he closely examined the structure of 
the mouth of this animal. He also says that the Kochloi, 
by which some gastropods are meant, have two teeth in 
addition to a tongue. § These two teeth may be merely the 
horny jaws of the gastropods. 

Aristotle says that the sea-urchin has five inwardly 
curved teeth. i| These teeth w^th their pyramidal sockets 
and the numerous pieces of framework supporting the 
whole are called "Aristotle's lantern," and form a compara- 
tively large structure projecting within the shell of the sea- 
urchin. Aristotle was the first to direct attention to it, but 
it was the shell of the sea-urchin divested of its skin which 
he compared to a lantern. 

Aristotle makes the following interesting statements 
about the shedding of teeth : — " Man and some other 
animals, e.g., the horse, mule, and ass, shed their teeth. 
Man sheds his front teeth and no animal sheds its 'molars,' 
while pigs do not shed any at all. Whether or no dogs 
shed their teeth is a disputed point ; some believe that they 
do not, others that they shed their canine teeth only, but it 
has been observed that dogs shed their teeth, like Man, only 
the shedding escapes notice because the teeth are not shed 
until new ones, similar to them, have been developed under- 

* H. A. ii. c. 3, s. 12. f H. A. ii. c. 3, s. 9 ; P. A. iv. c. 13, 6976. 

I H. A. iv. c. 2, s. 11 ; P. A. iv. c. 5, 679ff. § P. A. iv. c. 5, 6786. 

II H. A. iv. c. 5, s. 5 ; P. A. iv. c. 5, 680rt. 


neath. Probably, a similar thing happens in some other 
animals, which are said to lose their canines only." * 

The true molars are not shed, and the Greek word used 
by Aristotle, viz., gomphioi, certainly includes these, but, on 
account of the ambiguity of his statements, both here and 
elsewhere, it cannot be asserted that he refers to true 
molars only. His assertion that pigs do not shed their teeth 
is incorrect, but is still believed by some. One breeder, in 
fact, informed me that pigs do not shed their teeth, or, at 
most, only the canines. Aristotle's interesting statements 
about the shedding of the teeth of dogs are correct, as far 
as they go, for the milk teeth are shed and, although there 
are great variations with respect to time and order of 
shedding in different dogs, the permanent teeth are usually 
well-developed before the milk teeth are shed. Before me 
is the skull of a dog with well-developed upper canines, 
third upper premolars, and third and fourth lower premolars, 
all projecting well beyond the bone ; the corresponding milk 
teeth, however, are still in position but in process of being 
gradually pushed out of their sockets by the permanent 

He states, erroneously, that horns, referring particularly 
to those of ruminants, are more closely connected with the 
skin than with the bones, and attempts to explain in this 
way why certain cattle in Phrygia and other places moved 
their horns like ears.t This passage gives a wrong im- 
pression of the value of his knowledge of these structures. 
He knew that the horns of ruminants are closely connected 
with the bones. In H. A. iii. c. 9, s. 2, he says that most 
horns are hollow from their bases and sm-round an inner 
bone growing from the head, but are solid at the tip and 
unbranched, and, m H. A. ii. c. 2, s. 11, he says that the 
hollow parts are produced mainly from the skin, and the 
hard parts from the bone ; in both passages he says that 
the horns of deer are the only ones which are solid through- 
out. The supposed close connection between horns and 
skin caused him to believe that the colours of these cor- 
respond, dark horns being found with dark skins or hair, 
and light horns with light skins or hair, and he believed 
that the same was true for nails, claws, and hoofs, t There 
are many animals for which these statements are not true, 

* H. A. ii. c. 3, ss. 11 and 12. j Ihid. iii. c. 9, s. 3. 
I Ihid. iii. c. 9, s. 1. 


e.g., the gazelle, oryx, and Bubaline Antelope, and, among 
animals which Aristotle could not have known, the polar 
bear, and the white cattle of some parts of the Falkland 
Islands, mentioned by Darwin,* 

The deer (Elaphos) is the only animal which casts its 
horns annually, this taking place after it is two years old ; 
its horns are shed about May, and its first horns are 
straight, like pegs.f 

Although Aristotle here uses the word Elaphos in 
the singular, he refers to more than one kind of deer. 
Except in a few individual cases, deer shed their horns 
annually, while the horns of oxen, sheep, goats, and such 
antelopes as were known to him, are not shed. The 
first horns are peg-like, as Aristotle says, but they are 
usually shed when the young bucks are not quite two 
years old. Further, deer usually shed their horns about 

Aristotle says that all horned animals have four feet, 
excepting such animals as the horned snakes which, the 
Egyptians say, are to be found near Thebes. 1 This passage 
recalls the statement by Herodotus, § that, near Thebes, 
there were small harmless snakes, with two horns at the 
upper parts of their heads. Except that Cerastes is not 
harmless, this description might well refer to it. 

Some peculiar beliefs about snakes with " horns " are to 
be found in some of the Greek Isles, The official notes, 
reproduced in Folk-Lore, vol. xi. 1900, pp. 120-125, of a 
trial in the District Court of Larnaca, on October 27th, 1899, 
state that damages were claimed for the loss of a snake's 
" horn " lent to the defendant. The plaintiff alleged that he 
had extracted it from just above the right eye of a snake, 
and that it was a white, curved, thin body, about three- 
quarters of an inch long. It was also alleged that it 
exercised some magic power over the human body, and that 
water in which the " horn " had been placed was useful in 
curing snake-bites. Commenting on this case, Mr. W. E. 
Paton says that the snake's "horn " is known also in Cos,|| 
and it may be mentioned that the Nose-horned Viper 
(F. ammodytes) of central and southern Europe has a scaly 
appendage on its nose. 

■'' Naturalist's Voyage round the World, 2nd ed. London, 1890, p. 203. 
t H. A.u. c. 2, s. 11, ix. c. 6, s. 2. j Ibid. ii. c. 2, s. 11. 

§ ii. 74. II FolJi-Lore,\i. p. 321. 


d. Hair. — Aristotle gives a long description of the hair of 
animals, chiefly in H. A. iii. c. 10, and, although including 
many erroneous statements, such description seems to have 
been, for many centuries, the best. 

He says that the thickness, fineness, and length of hairs 
vary with their positions and the nature of the skin,* that 
animals with coarse hair become softer-haired, and animals 
with soft hair become coarser-haired, by good feeding, and 
that men living in warm localities have harsh hair, while 
those living in cold localities have soft hair.f He adds that 
straight hairs are soft, but curly hairs are harsh, t 

Many other conditions, besides the nature of their 
food, affect the qualities of the hair, but the nature of the 
food has an important effect, e.g., when the Angora goats of 
Asia Minor have a variety of good food their hair is finer 
and in better condition than when their food is coarse. Why 
Aristotle states that animals with soft hair become coarser- 
haired by good feeding is not clear. It seems to be,v 
however, an example of his fondness for laying down a 
proposition and then stating its converse. 

When speaking about the hair of men living in warm 
and in cold localities, he seems to rely on a comparison 
between the Europeans, with hair fairly straight or moder- 
ately curled, and the Negroes, with frizzly hair. It is not 
clear what he means by softness and harshness, as applied 
to hair, but he seems to suggest that straightness and 
curliness respectively are meant. There are important ex- 
ceptions, however, to his general statements, e.g., the 
Mongols, whether living in warm countries, like Siam or 
the Malay Archipelago, or in cold countries, like Siberia, 
have cylindrical, straight hair, and the degree of frizziness 
or curliness of the hair of Negroes depends very much on 
the degree of ellipticity or flatness of the hair in cross 

Aristotle says that hair becomes grey from the tip, and 
that, during the course of some complaints, the hair turns 
grey and falls off but grows again and is of its original 
colour. § Hair commonly becomes grey from the roots, 
sometimes from the tips, and occasionally at intervals along 
the hairs. Aristotle's statement about the recovery of the 
hair after illness was probably taken from Hippocrates, and 

* H. A. iii. c. 10, s. 1. f Ihid. iii. c. 10, s. 2. 

I Ibid. § Ihid. iii. c. 10, s. 5. 


is true particularly of patients suffering from scarlet and 
other fevers. 

Many other statements relating to the hair are made by 
Aristotle, of which the following seem to be the most 
interesting: In H. A. iii. c. 10, s. 9, he says that the hair 
grows on dead bodies. Many descriptions of a remarkable 
growth of hair after death have been given since Aristotle's 
time, and many people believe that such growth takes 
place.* However, Dr. W. J. Erasmus Wilson says : " The 
lengthening of the hairs of the beard, observed in a dead 
person, is merely the result of the contraction of the skin 
towards their bulb."t 

In a passage which is not clear, Aristotle says that, in 
animals with spotted fur, the spots first appear in the fur 
and skin and in the skin of the tongue, t I know nothing 
about such an occurrence of spots on the tongue, but some 
dogs have dark patches or marks on the palate and other 
parts within the mouth, and the following record seems to 
show that there is a relation between the colour of the hair 
and these marks. Mr. Woodward, a gamekeeper on the 
Blenheim estate, Woodstock, informs me that about nine 
years ago a pedigree black retriever, belonging to the Duke 
of Grafton, had seven pups, six black and one pure white. 
The black pups had, like their mother, dark or black palates, 
but the white pup had its palate partly white. 

In the case of Dalmatian pups, which are usually white 
at birth, the spots do not appear until the pups are a few 
weeks old. 

There are several passages, in ancient works, about an 
influence exercised on the colours of animals by the water 
drunk by the mothers of these animals or by the animals 
themselves. Strabo mentions rivers the waters of which 
had an influence of this kind,§ and so also does j!Elian,|| 
and there is also the well-known passage in Genesis, c. 30, 
vv. 37-39, which has so often been discussed. Aristotle 
says that there are waters of this kind in many places, and, 
by drinking them just before conception, sheep bring forth 
black lambs, e.g., the so-called Cold Kiver, in the Thracian 

* I particularly remember a detailed narrative about an excessive 
growth of hair after death in connection with a case of exhumation in 

f Healthy Skin, dc, 8th edition, 1876, p. 112. 

I H. A. iii. c. 10, s. 9. § Geogr. x. c. 1, s. 14. 

II De Nat. Anim. viii. 21. 


Chalcidice. He also says that in Astyra and Antandria are 
two rivers, of which one makes sheep white and the other 
makes them black. The river Scammander, he says, seems 
to make them light brown, and on this account some say 
that Homer called this river Xanthus.* 

The hare is the only animal, Aristotle says, which has 
hair within its cheeks and on the under sides of its feet.f 
It is true that the hare has hairs on the insides of its mouth 
and beneath its feet, but so also have other rodents, like 
the rabbit and squirrel, and, among animals not known to 
Aristotle, the polar bear, in particular, has hairs beneath 
its feet. 

e. Feathers, Scutes, and Scales. — Aristotle's views on 
these anhomoeomeria are closely connected with his views 
on the analogy and, it may be said, homology of the parts of 
animals, and will be more suitably considered from this 
point of view in Chapter xv. 

He mentions the chief parts of a bird's feather, viz., the 
shaft and barbs, and distinguishes it from the wing of an 
insect, which appears to be of the nature of a feather, being 
a skin-like membrane which, because of its dryness, becomes 
detached from the surface of the body, t 

Aristotle says correctly that many birds change colour 
with the seasons in such a way that an observer, if in- 
experienced, is deceived thereby, but he does not correctly 
explain the occurrence of albino ravens, sparrows, and 
swallows, for he says that they become white when the cold 
increases. § He says also that the crane, which is ash- 
coloured, darkens with age and is the only bird whose 
plumage changes with age.|| This is not correct, for, 
besides the great changes which take place in the plumage 
of many birds, from the young to the adult stage, changes 
in brilliancy or depth of colour may be seen, after successive 
moults, in many birds. In wild linnets, for instance, the rose- 
coloured parts are larger and more brilliant in the older birds. 

The looseness and thin nature of the barbs of the 
feathers of the ostrich were known to Aristotle, for he says 
that they are of the nature of hair and useless for flight.^ 

Oviparous quadrupeds, he says, have scutes.** This 
statement is incomplete, for some, like the frog and water 

- H. A. in. c. 10, s. 12. f Ibid. iii. c. 10, s. 13. 

I P. A. iv. c. 6, 6826. § H. A. iii. c. 10, s. 11. 

li Ibid. 1i P. A. iv. c. 13, 6976. 

-- H. A. iii. c. 10, s. 1. 


newt, have no scutes, and the chamseleon, which Aristotle 
knew so well, is covered by granules which can be very 
easily scraped off by means of a knife. 

For some time past attempts have been made to ascer- 
tain the ages of fishes by an examination of their scales. 
Aristotle also refers to changes in the nature of the scales of 
fishes with advancing age, saying that they become harder 
and thicker, and much harder in fishes which are old and 

B. — The Heart and Blood-Vessels. 

Aristotle's description of the heart and the arrangement 
of the blood-vessels constitutes his most valuable contri- 
bution to anatomical knowledge. Before his time it was 
generally believed that the origins of the blood-vessels were 
in the head, and in his H. A. iii. c. 2, he gives the arrange- 
ments of the blood-vessels according to Syennesis of Cyprus, 
Diogenes of Apollonia, and Polybus, who scarcely mention 
the heart. He was the first to explain, in clear language, 
that the blood-vessels arise from the heart, but he cannot 
be regarded with certainty as the originator of this dis- 
covery, for Plato says that the heart is the bond of union of 
the blood-vessels, and the fountain of the blood coursing 
through the limbs, t 

Aristotle's reasons for believing that the heart is the 
origin of the blood-vessels are given in P. A. iii. c. 4, where 
he says that the blood-vessels necessarily have one origin, 
for, where it is possible, it is better that there should be one 
and not many. This origin, he says, is in the heart, for the 
blood-vessels extend from it and not through it, and it 
occupies a very important or controlling position in the 
body. Then, after asserting that those are mistaken who 
believe that the blood-vessels have their origins in the head, 
he shows that the heart should be in a hot part of the body, 
and that it is so situated and is well adapted to be the origin 
and to form part of the arrangement of blood-vessels, for it 
has thick walls to prevent loss of heat, and is of the nature 
of a reservoir, the blood passing from it to the vessels, but 
not returning. All this, he says, is clearly proved by means 
of dissections and the phenomena of development, for the 
heart is the first part to be formed and contains blood as 
soon as it is formed. 

- H. A. iii. c. 10, s. 10. I Timmis, 70. 


According to Aristotle, the heart has three chambers, 
the largest being on the right side, the smallest on the left 
side, and the one of intermediate size being between the 
other two ; the two smaller chambers are much smaller than 
the largest, and, while all the chambers are readily seen in 
large animals, only two or even one can be seen in smaller 

Apparently, the largest or right chamber is the right 
ventricle, together with the right auricle, the smallest or 
left is the left auricle, and the intermediate chamber is the 
left ventricle. Aristotle's description of the chambers was 
probably based on dissections of this organ in some mammal 
or mammals. He does not say what animals he dissected 
for this purpose, but, for several reasons, more especially 
because he was acquainted with the existence of a bone in 
its heart, it is not unlikely that the ox was one of them. If 
so, it would not be surprising that he considered the right 
ventricle and right auricle to form one chamber which, as 
he says, was much larger than either of the other chambers. 

When the heart of an ox, freed from its firmly adherent 
masses of suet, is carefully dissected and placed so as to 
allow anyone to look down into its auricles and ventricles, 
the passage from the right auricle to the right ventricle is 
seen to be much more gradual than the passage from the left 
auricle to the left ventricle, between which there is a well- 
marked annular ridge. Then, again, the auriculo-ventricular 
valves between the right auricle and right ventricle lie very 
close to the chamber walls, and no well-marked boundary is 
seen between the right auricle and right ventricle. 

It should be mentioned that, instead of the view 
expressd above, Aubert and Wimmer considered the two 
auricles to form Aristotle's largest chamber, Frantzius con- 
sidered this to be the right auricle, and Dr. Ogle the right 

Aristotle says that there are sinews in the chambers of 
the heart,! but in H. A. iii. c. 5, s. 1, he says that the 
sinews are in its largest chamber. It is clear that the 
chordae tendineae are meant. These occur, as is well known, 
in both ventricles. 

In H. A. i. c. 14, s. 1, the pericardium seems to be 
referred to, for it is stated that the heart has a thick, fatty 
membrane, by which it is attached to the great blood-vessel 

* H. A. i. c. 14, ss. 1 and 2, iii. c. 3, s. 2 ; P. A. iii. c. 4, 6666. 
f H. A. i. c. 14, s. 1 ; P. A. iii. c. 4, 6666. 


and the aorta. The pericardium of an ox, which was 
probably one of the animals dissected for the heart, as 
explained above, is very stout and covered on opposite 
sides by a large quantity of fat, so that Aristotle's description 
applies very well to it. 

Aristotle's statements about the presence of bones in the 
hearts of horses and some oxen have been considered already 
in that part of this Chapter which relates to bones and 

In his description of the position of the heart, intended 
to apply to the human heart, he says incorrectly that the 
heart lies above the lungs, near the bifurcation of the 
trachea,* and that the parts of the heart near its apex lie 
on or against the aorta. t In Man, the heart lies just below 
the bifurcation of the trachea, and not above the lungs, 
while the apex of the heart is some distance in front of the 
aorta. One part of Aristotle's description of the position of 
the human heart, however, is such that some have taken it 
as a proof that he dissected the human body. This part of 
his description has been discussed in Chapter viii. 

Aristotle says that the heart of a snake is small, kidney- 
shaped, and situated near its throat, t The heart of a snake 
cannot be considered to be small, nor is it kidney-shaped. 
In one grass-snake, the heart, enclosed within its peri- 
cardium, was an inch and an eighth long and half an 
inch in diameter, the whole being almost cylindrical with 
rounded ends. When removed from its pericardium, the 
heart presented a much more complicated appearance, the 
bright red ventricle, in the form of a double cone with 
rounded ends, resting upon and between the dark red 
auricles. The front part of the heart was about as far 
forward as the hinder end of the long trachea. 

In the animals now called invertebrates, Aristotle did 
not believe that a heart, properly speaking, could be found. 
Instead of this, they had a part analogous to a heart, just 
as they had a fluid which was not blood but analogous to it. 

The part, in cephalopods and crustaceans, which he 
believed to represent the heart of animals with blood, was 
the part which, he says, was called mT/tls.^ Its position, he 
says, shows that it corresponds with the heart of animals 
with blood, and this is proved by the sweetness of its con- 
tained fluid, which has the characters of coagulated matter 

* H. A. i. c. 14, s. 1. f Ibid. I Ibid. ii. c. 12, s. 12. 

§ P. A. iv. c. 5, 6816 ; H. A. iv. c. 1, s. 11, iv. c. 2, s. 11 


and resembles blood.* The mytis was probably the liver or 
digestive gland. The fluid of this, however, is not always like 
blood, nor is it sweet. In most dibranchiate cephalopods it 
is reddish brown, but in the lobster and crayfish it is com- 
monly yellow. In his OsfraJcoderma and Entoma he con- 
cluded that the part corresponding with the heart of an 
animal with blood was in a median position,! but in no case 
does he appear to have located it. 

Aristotle's description of the arrangement of the blood- 
vessels may now be considered. Eeference may be made to 
Fig. 8, which is intended to illustrate his description. He 
points out the difficulties of tracing the arrangement by the 
methods followed by others, who dissected slaughtered 
animals from which much of the blood had flowed, or who 
examined the bodies of very emaciated men. It is very 
probable that he himself dissected animals which, after 
having been starved, were killed by strangulation.! 

He was aware of some differences (as has already been 
pointed out in Chapter ix.) between what are now called 
arteries and veins, but he had no knowledge of a circulation 
of the blood. According to him, the blood flowed outwards 
from the heart and did not return. In the following 
description, therefore, the phrase " blood-vessel " will be 
used wherever possible ; it would be misleading to use the 
words " artery " and " vein." Except where otherwise 
stated, in the following description of the arrangement of 
the blood-vessels, according to Aristotle, the passages relied 
on are from his H. A. iii. cc. ,3 and 4 (Schneider's text). 
Aristotle says that two blood-vessels arise from the heart, 
the smaller one, which some call the aorta, lying a little to 
the left, and the larger one, called the great blood-vessel, 
lying a little to the right of the spinal column and nearer 
to the ventral wall than the aorta. The heart is, as it v/ere, 
a part of these blood-vessels, especially the great blood- 
vessel, for the parts of this extend above and below the 
heart, which is between them. The great blood-vessel, he 
says, is connected with the upper part of the largest 
chamber, on the right side, then its course is directed back- 
wards right through the chamber, as if this were a part of 
the blood-vessel acting as a reservoir. The aorta, on the 
other hand, arises from the middle chamber, but not in the 

* P. A. iv. c. 5, 6816. f Ihid. iv. c. 5, 6816 and 682a. 

I H. A. iii. c. 3, s. 1. 



FIG. 8. 


r,in,l. Chambers of the heart. 

p. Lungs. 

d. Diaphragm. 

h. Liver. 

S. Spleen. 

k. Kidneys. 
— — Great blood vessel and Its branches. 

Aorta and its branches. 

Blood vessels from left chamber. 


same way as the great blood-vessel, for it communicates 
with the heart by a much narrower passage, and merely 
extends from it, whereas the great blood-vessel passes 
through the heart. 

Aristotle's description of the relative positions of the 
great blood-vessel and the aorta, or rather the parts of these 
which pass downwards along the spinal column, is not quite 
correct, for, although most of the great blood-vessel is 
nearer the ventral wall than the aorta, its lower part is not. 
Again, in its downward course the aorta tends to the right, 
so that its lower part may be more correctly said to lie in 
front of the spinal column. It is evident, from his own 
statement, that Aristotle was not the first to give the name 
aorta to the blood-vessel which, since his time, has been 
almost always called the aorta. In one of the Hippocratic 
treatises,* not written by Hippocrates but probably by a 
contemporary, the name aortcd is given to the bronchial 
tubes. Aristotle does not always use the phrase " great 
blood-vessel " in the same sense ; usually it refers to some 
part or parts of the venae cavae and pulmonary artery, but, 
in any particular passage, its meaning must be ascertained 
from the context. 

The largest chamber, on the right side, to which Aristotle 
says that the great blood-vessel is connected, is the right 
ventricle, together with the right auricle, as explained 
already, and the middle chamber, from which the aorta is 
said to arise, is the left ventricle. Aristotle's statement 
about the relative sizes of the roots of the aorta and the 
great blood-vessel, whether this be taken to be one of the 
venae cavas or the pulmonary artery, is incorrect. He pro- 
bably never saw these vessels in Man, in whom there is but 
a small difference in size between the root of the aorta and 
the root of the pulmonary artery. Again, to take an animal 
the heart of which he probably dissected, the root of the 
aorta of a three-year-old ox was a little larger than the root 
of the pulmonary artery and much larger than the root of 
either vena cava. 

Aristotle describes the largest chamber as if it were a 
reservoir-like part of the great blood-vessel, and it is clear 
that he considered this chamber, or at least that part of it 
now called the right auricle, to be a dilatation of the great 

* On Places in Man, c. 14. 


Aristotle proceeds to describe the various blood-vessels 
which pass from the parts of the great blood-vessel above 
the heart. He says that a part of the great blood-vessel 
passes upwards as an undivided blood-vessel of large size, 
and that two vessels extend from it. One of these goes 
towards the lungs and divides into two vessels, one for each 
tracheal tube ; these two vessels break up into smaller and 
smaller vessels which ramify through the substance of the 
lungs, so that the whole of these seems to be full of blood. 
The other vessel, which extends from the upper part of the 
great blood-vessel, passes to the spinal column and the last 
cervical vertebra. 

The great blood-vessel, referred to in the above state- 
ments, is clearly the pulmonary artery, and Aristotle's 
description of the arrangement of the blood-vessels passing 
from it to the lungs will be more conveniently discussed in 
Chapter xi. His assertion that a blood-vessel extends from 
the great blood-vessel to the spinal column and the last 
cervical vertebra is by no means easy to understand. The 
pulmonary artery has no branch of this kind. His further 
description of the great blood-vessel and its branches almost 
suggests that he was referring to the large azygos vein, but 
it does not seem to be possible to identify the blood-vessel 
which he so strangely connects with the pulmonary artery. 
His description of the two blood-vessels passing from the 
upper part of the great blood-vessel is an example of 
passages in which a fairly good description is followed by 
an apparently inexplicable statement. Such passages often 
occur in his description of the arrangement of the blood- 
vessels, and, in some cases, it is almost futile to attempt to 
do more than refer to them. 

Aristotle proceeds to say that, from the " whole " (which 
should be the vena cava superior), blood-vessels pass to the 
sides and collar bones and thence to the arms in men, to the 
forelegs in quadrupeds, to the wings in birds, and to the 
pectoral fins in fishes. The parts of these blood-vessels near 
where the branching takes place he calls the jugulars. He 
also says that blood-vessels pass from the great blood-vessel 
to the neck and along the trachea, and that, when these 
blood-vessels are held on the outside, men sometimes fall 
down insensible, with eyes closed, but without being choked. 
These blood-vessels, he says, extend as far as the ears, 
where they branch off into four vessels, one of which turns 
back and passes through the neck and shoulder on its way 


to the arm, hand, and fingers, while another extends to 
the membranes sm-rounding the brain. Of the remaining 
branches of the great blood-vessel, some pass completely 
round the head, and others end in very delicate vessels in 
the sensory organs and the teeth. 

It is clear, from the first part of this description, that 
Aristotle saw what are now called the subclavian veins and 
some of their tributaries, and that what he calls the jugulars 
were probably the innominate veins. The blood-vessels, 
the holding of which caused men sometimes to fall down 
insensible, should be the internal jugulars, since Aristotle is 
discussing branches of the great blood-vessel, but he may be 
referring to the carotid arteries. It may be mentioned that ^ 
compression of the carotids to produce stupor during surgical 
operations was practised by the Assyrians.* The part of 
Aristotle's description of the blood-vessels extending as far 
as the ears is apparently meant to refer to the internal 
jugular veins and their tributaries, but several parts of the 
description are incorrect, e.g., these veins have many more 
than four tributaries, and the branching takes place at many 
different places and not merely in the vicinity of the ears. 
Again, the vessel which is said to pass back through the 
neck might be one of the external jugular veins. 

Aristotle's account of the blood-vessels connected with 
the brain will be considered when dealing with the brain 
and spinal cord. 

The part of the great blood-vessel below the heart will 
now be considered. Aristotle says that this passes down 
through the diaphragm, but he adds the erroneous statement 
that it is united to both the aorta and the spinal column by 
loose, membranous connections. A short, thick blood-vessel • 
passes from it to the liver and breaks up therein. There 
are also, he says, two branches of this short, thick blood- 
vessel, one ending in the diaphragm and adjacent parts, 
and the other passing upwards and entering the right arm. 
Therefore, he explains, when surgeons cut this blood-vessel, 
some pains about the liver are relieved. From the left side 
of the great blood-vessel, a short, thick blood-vessel passes 
to the spleen, and another blood-vessel passes upward and 
into the left arm. Other blood-vessels extend from the 
great blood-vessel, one to the omentum, another to the 
so-called pancreas, and many blood-vessels through the 

-'= Manual of Pharmacology, W. E. Dixon, 2nd edition, 1908, p. 51. 


mesentery, but these all end in one great blood-vessel 
extending along the intestine and stomach and as far as 
the oesophagus. 

This practically completes Aristotle's description of the 
great blood-vessel and its connections. The yvSby i^ which 
he describes the downward extension of the great blood- 
vessel suggests that he knew that what is now called the 
ve)ia cava inferior passed somewhat centrally through the 
diaphragm. In his description of the branches of the blood- 
vessel passing to the liver, Aristotle is wrong ; the blood- 
vessels from the right part of the diaphragm pass to the 
ve7ia cava i7iferior, and those from the left part enter the 
suprarenal vein. His statements, that another branch 
passes upwards and enters the right arm, and that a blood- 
vessel passes from the left side of the great blood-vessel to 
the left arm, are of more than ordinary interest. He was 
evidently not free from the influence of the ancient belief 
in the existence of distinct right and left systems of blood- 
vessels. Statements made in accordance with this belief 
vitiated the descriptions of all ancient anatomists who dealt 
with the arrangement of the blood-vessels, and used to 
exercise a bad effect on surgical practice. Diogenes of 
Apollonia, one of the best anatomists who lived before 
Aristotle, described some of the blood-vessels of the right 
arm and shoulder under the name " hepatitis," and some of 
the blood-vessels of the left arm and shoulder under the 
name " splenitis," * and said that, for some complaints, 
surgeons practised bleeding from them.t The Ancients 
believed, in fact, that an organ, such as the liver or spleen, 
was connected by a blood-vessel with a distant part of the 
body, such as one of the arms, and surgeons tried to relieve 
pains, believed to be caused by such an organ, by bleeding 
from the aforesaid blood-vessel. Dr. Lauth says that the 
erroneous opinion, which even Aristotle entertained, that a 
blood-vessel connected the liver and the right arm, and that 
another connected the spleen and the left arm, long had a 
bad effect on surgical practice. + 

The Chinese, who appear to have formed their ideas 
about human anatomy without the aid of the dissecting- 
knife, believe that there are some organs to each of which a 
blood-vessel proceeds, such vessel having a "pulse" which 

* H. A. iii. c. 2, s. 4. f Ibid. iii. c. 2, s, 6. 

I Hist, de VAnatomie, Strasbourg, 1815, p. 77. 


is of great value in diagnosis. An account of this subject 
may be read in a paper by Dr. J. Dudgeon in the Journal 
of the Peking Oriental Society, vol. iii. No. 4 (1895), 
pp. 555-565. He gives, by way of example, the "pulse" 
of the large intestines, and says that the blood flowing to 
these rises at the tips of the thumb and index finger, flows 
up the back of the arm to the head, then down the face to the 
lungs, and thence to the intestines, that two blood-vessels 
are also given off to the ears and nose, and that deafness, 
ringing in the ears, and pains behind the ears and in the 
arms arise from the large intestines. Nothing is said about 
blood-letting, but the general similarity between the views 
of the ancient Greeks and the Chinese, as expressed above, 
shows that these peoples, so far removed both in space and 
time, have entertained similar ideas about the blood system. 

Returning to Aristotle's description of the blood-vessels 
connected with the great blood-vessel, it is clear that, as 
might be expected, he misunderstood what is now known 
as the portal system of blood-vessels, some of which he 
describes as if they passed directly into the great blood- 
vessel. The veins from the spleen, pancreas, omentum, 
and mesentery are not tributaries of the vena cava inferior, 
but unite to form the portal vein which enters and breaks 
up in the liver. 

Most of the rest of Aristotle's description of the blood- 
vessels relates to the aorta and its branches. He states, but 
incorrectly, that both the aorta and great blood-vessel are 
unbranched as far as the kidneys, and then he correctly 
follows the courses of these vessels, in so far as he says that 
they cling more closely to the spinal column and that each 
divides into two, just like the Greek A, but that the great 
blood-vessel lies farther back than the aorta. 

He says that blood-vessels pass from the aorta to the 
mesentery, and that no blood-vessel passes from the aorta 
to the liver and spleen, but blood-vessels extend from both the 
aorta and the great blood-vessel to the hips. Blood-vessels, 
he says, extend to the kidneys from the aorta and the great 
blood-vessel ; they do not pass to the hollow parts \j)elves] 
of the kidneys, but are abundantly supplied to their substance. 
From the aorta two other strong, unbranched ducts (poroi) 
lead to the bladder, and others, having no connection with 
the great blood-vessel, from the hollow parts of the kidneys. 
Then follows a description, by no means clear, of tubular, 
sinewy blood-vessels passing from the kidneys along the 



spinal column to the hips, and then to the bladder and 
generative organs. 

It is clear from these descriptions that Aristotle was 
acquainted with the mesenteric arteries, but that he did not 
know that arteries are given off almost directly from the 
aorta to the liver and spleen, these arteries being branches 
of the very short coeliac artery, which leaves the abdominal 
aorta just below the diaphragm. He very clearly refers to 
the ureters, but it is not clear what are the two strong, 
unbranched ducts {poroi) leading from the aorta to the 
bladder. The use of the word poroi instead oi phlehes does 
not cause the difficulty, for Aristotle often uses that word 
to denote blood-vessels ; the difficulty is that there do not 
seem to be blood-vessels corresponding with those mentioned. 
They may be the spermatic arteries, or the corresponding 
ovarian arteries, which are long, unbranched vessels ex- 
tending in the direction of, but not to, the bladder. They 
can scarcely be two of the vesical arteries, which are given 
off from the internal iliac arteries and are very much 

No blood-vessel, Aristotle says, passes from the great 
blood-vessel to the uterus, but many closely crowded blood- 
vessels extend to it from the aorta. He next says that, 
after their bifurcation, blood-vessels extend from the aorta 
and great blood-vessel to the groins, legs, feet, and toes. 

His statement that no blood-vessel extends from the 
great blood-vessel to the uterus is substantially correct, for 
many of the uterine veins lead to the internal iliac veins ; 
some of them, however, communicate with the ovarian veins 
which lead to the vena cava inferior. His statement about 
the vessels extending to the uterus from the aorta needs 
some qualification. The uterus is supplied with blood partly 
by the uterine arteries from the internal iliac arteries, and 
partly by the ovarian arteries which branch off from the 
aorta and communicate with branches of the uterine 
^ Aristotle says incorrectly that, as regards the largest 

blood-vessels and their origins, the arrangement is the same 
in all animals with blood. In small animals, he says, the 
blood-vessels, except the great blood-vessel, are not con- 
spicuous, for some blood-vessels are confusedly arranged, 
just like channels in a large quantity of mud, and some 
animals have merely a few "fibres" instead of blood-vessels. 
In a dissected animal, especially one killed by strangulation 


or by chloroforming, the puhnonary arteries and the venae 
cavae are distended, and dark or nearly black so as to be 
easily seen. Aristotle says correctly that the great blood- 
vessel is conspicuous even in very small animals. 

Here, near the end of a description having serious 
defects, yet far surpassing in excellence the corresponding 
descriptions of his predecessors, we see that Aristotle tried, 
but without success, to make out the nature of the small 
ramifications of the blood-vessels. More than this, it is 
clear from other passages in his Vi^orks that he tried to 
investigate the phenomena of the ultimate destination of 
the blood passing through the very small blood-vessels. 
His views are fairly expressed in a series of passages in his 
P. A. iii. c. 5, 668, which are too long to be given in full. 
In these passages he says that, just as in the conveyance of 
water by irrigating channels or ditches the largest channels 
persist but the smallest disappear beneath the mud, so it 
is with the blood-vessels, for the largest persist while the 
smallest functionally become flesh, although they are none 
the less capable of acting as blood-vessels. When flesh is 
cut, he proceeds to say, blood flows from it, although no 
blood-vessels may be seen in the flesh, because of their being 
choked up. The blood-vessels, he says, divide and become 
smaller and smaller, until their passages are too small to 
allow the blood to flow through them, but they still allow 
the passage of a more liquid substance, viz., sweat. Finally, 
he says that the blood in the very small blood-vessels gives 
up some of its material in the form of sweat or vapour, or, 
as stated in P. A. iii. c. 8, 611a, is diverted into feathers, 
scales, or the like, while the remaining parts are transformed 
into flesh. 

In this way he explains how the blood can flow away 
from the heart and never return. Although he was aware 
of some differences between the aorta and the great blood- 
vessel and their ramifications, he had no conception of a 
return of blood to the heart, nor of the existence of networks 
of capillaries through which the blood passed before entering 
the veins. Having imperfect means of investigation and an 
inadequate idea of the difficulties to be overcome, it is not 
surprising that he failed in his attempts to explain the 
ultimate distribution and functions of the blood, but he did 
more than any other anatomist who lived before the times of 
Vesalius and Servetus to prepare a way for a satisfactory 
explanation of the phenomena of the circulation of the blood. 


CE-^rZP. XI. 

FUNC TIOX S ycoKiinuid) . 

7 of tlie Enic-^.a 

'-'''-- "- :" - and 

r— = -prill be 


n. A. 1- e. i, s. '7. i D* mfpir 

roid, ec. 1 sad 2. f J^uf. ee. l-l 

** fl. ^. L e. 11. 5. 6. 

— tic 


qTiadmpeds, the paiis of the lung are separated sj ~~:ji 
thai there seem to t-r r^: -^:^^=- -::i:i^:'^- ": i ii^le 

The fact that the lungs comnnziicaie with a =:^".e 
trachea caiised Ari?:-:T> :■: =T-^ii: :: the hmg. nyi the lyings. 
of an animal. Thir :_ : :-; ; : " t : irihing the Inngs is scme- 
what similar to his me :j.: i :: . " " ' , ' 

some fishes. H's des:r': " :■.-;;..__. . _ ._ . : 

the hnman lungs is - ■ : ;::r7 7i:f -^i^^- — ^azi. 

are distinctly r:-^ -": : ._t .tIT i^iiig hi= r^: mi liie 
right Inng thif 

He says - - :^- - 

cartiIagino"c= f _::-_. 1 __ : - _. i:^_:i. r:i:li .,? 

contracting to a point, sni Lrom thezi ize i^r:: . ■ :_e 
through all parts of the liing. and these pprfpyar :^ - it 
branching, become sm.aller and smaller.-^ 

This description read.s accnrattly enoiigh when ecBE^azed 
with the appearance presented by the branches, within tiie 
lungs, of the bronchial passages of an ex or sheep, sndx 
branches having leen cut longitudinally. The -word vsed 
in the Greek text to denote the bi^nch^ is du^ifseis, 
which indicates that they are iii ihe substance oi the hmgs. 

In a series of very important passages, AristDtle says tiiat 
blood-vessels extend from the heart to the lung and inazidi 
in the same way as the trachea, closely foUofwix^ its Hranrlifs 
thronghont the whole lung. E^"~— :: the brandies d fee 
blood-vessels and those of the : he says, there is no 

common duct, but byreas::" ::_,...■ : ' ""^e blood- 
vessels receive air and tr;_:-^_ : hx one 
of the blood-vessels leads to the left mi :^v ::_ifr to the 
right chamber of the heart. Hf '-■ -■ - " ■ th? dis- 
position of the blo>i- vessels az . - :: :l-f 
bronchial tubes is such that no part ci : r --^ --^ 
detected in which an air passage exists -,_,_: i sziill 

These passages are interesting because they foreshadow 
a conception of that interchange c^ gases, between the 
blood and the air within the hmgs, which is an important 
effect of the process of respiration. Aristotle believed thas 
air passed, in some way, from the sm all air ptassages into 
the closely adjacent branches of the pulmonary blo>d-vessels. " 
and that these branches transmitted it to the heart. He 

* H. A. i. e. IS, 5. 7. t liii, L c, ISL s. 7. 

I Ihid^ i. c. 14. s. S, iii. e. S. ?. 4. 


does not explain how the air passes into the blood-vessels, 
but says that there are no ducts or vessels connecting the 
air passages and the blood-vessels. It may be that he be- 
lieved in the existence of minute apertures in the passages 
and vessels, which allowed air to pass, but were too small to 
allow blood to pass through them. 

His views on this part of the subject of respiration are 
difficult to understand. Some writers have concluded that 
Aristotle held that some of the blood-vessels contained air 
and not blood. It may be confidently asserted that his 
genuine works prove conclusively that, according to him, 
blood flowed through what are now called arteries as well 
as through those now called veins. When referring to both 
kinds of blood-vessels, he often speaks of the blood in them. 
The erroneous view that some of the vessels contained air 
rather than blood was held, not by Aristotle, but by many 
of his followers, as will be shown later. 

Few physiologists, according to Aristotle, had discussed 
the subject of respiration before his time.* Among others, 
he mentions Empedocles, who believed that some of the 
blood-vessels were only partially filled with blood, and com- 
municated with the external air through passages so small 
that they allowed air to pass, but not blood, and Aristotle 
states that Empedocles tried to explain the phenomena of 
respiration by asserting that the blood moved to and fro in 
these blood-vessels, causing the external air to be alternately 
drawn into and expelled from them through the very small 
passages and through the mouth and nostrils, t The very 
small passages, too small to allow blood but large enough to 
allow air to pass through, were referred to by writers on the 
blood-vessels and respiration for many centuries after the 
time of Empedocles. It has already been suggested that 
Aristotle believed in their existence in the walls of the air 
passages and blood-vessels in the lungs, and, in H. A. iii. 
c. 3, s. 3, he says that all the chambers of the heart com- 
municate by passages with the lung, but this is not evident, 
except in one chamber, because of the smallness of the 
passages. This does not prove that he believed in the 
existence of passages as small as those mentioned by 
Empedocles, but it is the clearest statement I can find on 
this subject. 

After Aristotle's time, Erasistratus and many others held 
that some of the blood-vessels, especially the arteries, con- 
•^= De Bespir. c. i. f Ibid. c. 7. 


tained air rather than blood. It was against this belief 
that Galen directed his attacks, when he contended that the 
arteries were filled with blood, However, according to Sir 
M. Foster, the Galenic philosophy set forth that, when the 
heart expands, it draws air from the lungs, through what 
are now known as the pulmonary veins, into the left ventricle, 
and this air mixes there with blood which has passed 
through invisible pores in the septum between the ventricles.* 
This shows how lasting was Empedocles' conception of the 
minute passages. 

Aristotle says that, in oviparous animals, such as birds, 
and oviparous quadrupeds, the parts of the lungs are separ- 
ated so much from each other that there appear to be two 
distinct lungs,! and that, in snakes, there is a single lung 
divided by a long " fibrous " tube.t 

Except that the trachea is only partly fibrous, this is 
true of the lungs of the viper and grass-snake, which were 
those best known to Aristotle. Some snakes, like the boa 
and python, have two functional lungs, unequally developed. 

He says that the lungs of oviparous animals, e.g., lizards, 
tortoises, and birds, are small and dry but capable of great 
expansion, when inflated. § This assertion is qualified by a 
passage in P. A. iii. c. 8, 671a, where he says that the 
marine tortoises have flesh-like lungs containing blood, like 
the lungs of oxen, and that the lungs of land tortoises are 
larger proportionally than those of other oviparous quad- 
rupeds. Compared with those of many oviparous animals, 
the lungs of marine and also land tortoises are large and 
fleshy, but they are not nearly as fleshy as those of an ox. 
Aristotle's statement about the lungs of birds is inaccurate, 
for the lungs of birds are rather large and contain much blood. 
They are hidden to a large extent in recesses on each side of 
the backbone, and it is probable that he never removed them 
in order to examine them. 

By means of the currents of water bathing the gills, 
Aristotle believed that fishes were cooled, but this was not 
the only function of the gills, for he says that they serve 
also as organs of smell. |i 

His descriptions of the gills of fishes are often difficult 
to understand. He says correctly that the gills are either 
single or double, and that the numbers of gills are equal on 

'- Led. on the Hist, of Physiology, 1901, pp. 12 and 13. 
// \ H. A. i. c. is; s. 7. I Ibid. n. c. 12, s. 12. 

^ P. A. iii. c. 6, 669a. || Ibid. ii. c. 16, 659&. 



both sides of the head.* In a comparatively few fishes, the 
last gills are single, but he states incorrectly that they are 
single in all or most fishes.! Again, many gills which are 
known to be double are said by him to be single. This may 
be explained, in some cases, on the assumption that he 
included among single gills those which, like the gills of the 
eel and the sturgeon, have two sets of leaflets joined to- 
gether for a rather large part of their length. He does not 
appear to have known anything of the half-gills or pseudo- 
branchs in some bony and cartilaginous fishes. 

In H. A. ii. c. 9, s. 4, Aristotle mentions many fishes 
and gives the numbers of gills for each. In the following 
table, the gills of some of these fishes are compared with 
those of the fishes which seem to furnish the best identi- 
fication of them : — 

Gills on each side 

Modern names 

Gills on each side 












































Parrot- Wrasse 









In addition to other peculiarities of structure, the gill- 
processes of each pair are free in the sword-fish, so that 
there seem to be eight gills. Aristotle evidently knew of 
this peculiarity. 

Aristotle says that the flat, cartilaginons fishes, such as 
the torpedo and ray, have their gills below, but the long 
ones, such as the dogfishes, have lateral gills, and that 
the fishing-frog has lateral gills, but these have skin-like 
opercula and not spiny ones, like fishes which are not 

The Angel-fish {Rhina sqiiatina), which was known to 

* H. A. ii. C.9, s. 4. 

f H. A. ii. c. 9, s. 4 ; P. A. iv. c. 13, 6966. 
I H. A. ii. c. 9, s. 3. 


Aristotle, is a flat cartilaginous fish but has lateral gill- 
slits. His statement about the gill covers of the fishing-frog 
is substantially correct. No opercula, such as those of the 
bass or perch, are present. The respiratory water currents, 
on each side, flow to the exterior through a large bag-like 
chamber, bounded exteriorly by a skin-like flap and com- 
municating with the external water through a round hole 
just behind the base of the pectoral fin. Six very long 
branchiostegal rays support the skin-like flap. 

Aristotle noticed the existence of gills in some of the 
invertebrates, e.g., he says that gill-like organs, rough, 
numerous, and constantly moving, are present in lobsters 
and cray-fishes,* and it is probable that the hair-like organs 
in the bodies of certain cephalopods,t and the hair-like 
organs in some molluscs,! are intended to be gills. 

In his Entoma, Aristotle considered the hypozoma, i.e., 
the part of the body separating the thorax from the 
abdomen, to be the equivalent of lungs or gills, and to be an 
organ of smell. § 

D. — Liver, Spleen, and Pancreas. 

Aristotle's statements about the functions of the liver and 
spleen are few and of very little value; about the functions 
of the pancreas he says nothing. The liver, he says, cannot 
be the most important organ of the body nor the origin of 
the blood, for it does not occupy an important or controlling 
position, and, further, it is counterbalanced, as it were, by 
another organ, viz., the spleen. || He was disposed to regard 
the liver and the spleen as resembling each other in cha- 
racter and constituting a double organ. 11 Both the liver 
and the spleen, he says, assist in the digestion of food, by 
means of their heat, and the spleen withdraws superfluous 
matters from the stomach and entirely digests them.** 
Plato's views on the function of the spleen bear some 
resemblance to Aristotle's, for he says that the spleen, acting 
like an absorbent body, serves to receive impurities from 
the liver, tf The liver, Aristotle says, assists in keeping the 
body in a healthy condition, for this depends very much 

* H. A. iv, c. 2, ss. 7 and 10 ; P. A. iv. c. 8, 684a. 
f H. A. iv. c. 1, s. 12. \ Ibid. iv. c. 4, s. 12. 

§ P. A. ii. c. 16, 6596. |1 Ibid. iii. c. 4, 666a. 

H Ibid, iii. c. 7, 6696. ^'•* Ibid. iii. c. 7, 670a and 6. 

fl TimcBus, 72. 


on the blood, and the Hver contains more blood than any 
internal organ, except the heart.* 

He discusses the purpose served by the bile, and con- 
cludes that its formation results in a purification of the 
blood, but that it is itself a residual substance having no 
further use.t His views on the bile were very different, 
therefore, from modern views, according to which the bile 
facilitates the absorption of food, especially fats and carbo- 
hydrates, and stimulates the peristaltic movements of the 

Aristotle makes a few interesting statements about 
the position, form, size, and colour of the liver in various 
animals. That of Man, he correctly says, is on the right 
side of the body, and he adds that it is rounded like that of 
an ox.t He gives an approximately correct estimate of the 
relative sizes of the liver of an elephant and an ox, saying 
that the former is four times larger than the latter. § The 
average weight of the liver of English oxen is about sixteen 
pounds, and that of the liver of Asiatic elephants is about 
fifty-three He says very little about the liver in 
birds. In snakes, he says, the liver is long and single,1[ 
and, in fishes, some have a liver without lobes and dogfishes 
have a liver with two lobes which are quite free from each 
other.** In snakes, the liver is single and elongated, e.g., in 
a grass-snake of average size I found that the single liver 
was five inches long. With respect to fishes, there are 
some, e.g., the Lophobranchs, in which the liver is unilobed, 
but most usually it is bilobed or, very occasionally, has more 
than two lobes. The lobes of the liver of the dogfish are 
connected anteriorly by a short septum, and it is only in a 
few fishes that they are separate, e.g., they are said to be 
quite separate in the hag-fish. 

The liver, he says, is red in viviparous quadrupeds and 
birds, light yellow in most oviparous quadrupeds and in 
fishes, and of a dirty tint in the frog, toad, and the like. ft 
The colours are more varied than the above statements 
suggest, e.g., the liver of the grass-snake is of a bright, 
chocolate colour, that of the sea-lamprey is green, of the 
dogfish, brownish-yellow, and of the frog, brown. 

* P. A. iii. c. 12, 6736. \ Ibid. iv. c. 2, (Slla. 

X H. A. i. c. 14, ss. 5 and G. § Ibid. ii. c. 12, s. 8. 

li Vet.-Capt. Evans' Treatise on Elephants, 1901, Rangoon, p. G7. 
H H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 12. -* Ibid. ii. c. 12, s. 3. 

f+ P. ^.iii.c. 12, 67Sb. 


There are few parts of the animal body to which 
Aristotle paid more attention than the gall-bladder. When 
he describes this part, he oftens uses the word chole, 
which properly signifies " bile," to denote the gall-bladder 

He says that deer, horses, mules, asses, seals, and some 
mice and men are without a gall-bladder, but that the 
so-called Achainian deer seem to have gall in their tails, 
but this, though like gall in colour, is not liquid like gall, 
but resembles the inner parts of the spleen.* 

Horses, mules, asses, almost all kinds of deer, and some 
mice, e.g., the long-tailed field mouse, and occasionally men, 
have not a gall-bladder, but the common seal and all other 
seals, apparently, have a conspicuous gall-bladder. 

Aristotle's statements about the presence of a gall-like 
substance in the tails of certain deer are not satisfactory. 
In his note on H. A. ii. c. 11, s. 5, Schneider says: — 
" Even to-day, several huntsmen assert this. It is certain 
that the inner part of the tail has a greenish colour and a 
bitter taste. Hence, of course, the opinion seems to have 
arisen about the presence of bile in the tail." I cannot 
obtain any confirmation of this. On the contrary, Mr. 
Woodward, a gamekeeper near Woodstock, who has dressed 
many deer, says that he has never seen such greenish colour 
in or about their tails. 

Relying on observations on animals slaughtered for 
sacrifice, Aristotle says that some have not a gall-bladder, 
e.g., the sheep about Chalcis, in Euba3a, but that all those in 
Naxos have remarkably large gall-bladders, t He states cor- 
rectly that the liver of the elephant is without a gall-bladder, 
but, when cut near the part corresponding with that where 
the gall-bladder is attached in some animals, a bile-like 
liquid flows from the cut part, and that the dolphin also is 
without a gall-bladder. I 

The elephant has a long bile-duct of large diameter 
opening, according to Owen, into a bile pouch between 
the coats of the duodenum. 

Aristotle attempted, inH.A. ii. c. 11, ss. 7 and 8, ii. c. 12, 
s. 12, and P. A. iv. c. 2, 6766, to indicate the position of the 
gall-bladder in many birds and fishes and in a snake. It is clear 
from these passages that he was well acquainted with the 

* H. A. ii. c. 11, s. 5 ; P. A. iv. c. 2, 6766. 
t H. A. i. c. 14, s. 6; P. A. iv c. 2, 677a. 
I H. A. ii. c. 11, 8. 7. 



zigzag arrangement of the gall-bladder of the pelamid, and 
the exceptionally large size of the gall-bladder of the star 
gazer. To what extent he was correct in defining the 
positions of the gall-bladder in the snake and some of the 
birds and fishes, referred to above, will be seen from the 
table below. 


Position of the 


Position of the 






Near the intestines 


Bile ducts only (two speci- 
mens dissected) 


)) )> 


Close below right part of 


»> »> 


Bile ducts only 


n )> 


Bile ducts only (five speci- 
mens dissected) 


On the liver or 

Grass Snake 

About half an inch behind 

towards intestines. 

the liver 


On the intestines 


Lies along the intestines 


Near the intestines 


Suspended about thre inches 
below liver (Owen) 


« »i 


Suspended from liver 


1) II 


Suspended at some distance 
from liver (Owen) 


1! )l 

Sword Fish 

Suspended at some distance 
from liver 


Near the liver 


Close below liver 


)) 11 


Close below liver (Agassiz) 


On the liver 

Star Gazer 

Suspended from liver (Cu- 
vier and Valenciennes) 

The spleen, Aristotle says, is on the left side of the body 
and, in Man, is long and narrow, like that of the pig or 
dog,* in the elephant it is rather less than fom- times larger 
than that of the ox,t in ruminants it is of somewhat rounded 
form, and in the horse, mule, and ass it is broad in one part 
and narrow in another.! 

The human spleen is somewhat tetrahedral in form and 
is not like the elongated spleen of the pig. The spleen varies 
much in weight, even in mammals of the same species, but 
Aristotle's estimate of the size of the spleen in the elephant 
is too high. The average weight of the spleen in English 

* if. ^. i. c. 14, ss. 5 and 6 ; P. A. iii. c. 12, 674a. 

\ H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 8. | P. A. iii. c. 12, 674ff. 


oxen is about two and a quarter pounds, and that of Asiatic 
elephants is about seven pounds, acccording to Vet.-Capt. 
G. H. Evans.* 

Aristotle says that most animals with blood have a 
spleen, but, in many oviparous animals, it is so small that 
it nearly escapes notice, especially in most birds, such as the 
hawk, owl, kite, and pigeon, that the jEgocephalos has no 
spleen at all, and that it is quite small in oviparous quad- 
rupeds, such as the tortoise, lizard, crocodile, toad, and 
frog.t He also says that the chamseleon does not appear 
to have a spleen, t 

His statements about the absence of the spleen are not 
satisfactory, for Rolleston says : — " A spleen is found in all 
vertebrata in connection with the mesogastrium." § The 
chamaeleon has a small spleen ; in one of large size I found 
it was O'll inch long. The Mgocephalos, which was a bird, 
would have a spleen ; this bird has not been satisfactorily 
identified, but different writers have attempted to identify it 
with one of the following : — godwit, long-eared owl, Scops' 
owl, goatsucker, and snipe. 

Generally speaking, the spleen is relatively much larger 
in mammals than in birds, reptiles, and batrachians, yet it 
was oval and 0'68 inch long in one tawny owl, egg-shaped 
and 0'6 inch long in a small specimen of the Grecian 
tortoise, and it is said to be large in the crocodile. In some 
of the other animals mentioned by Aristotle it is certainly 
small, e.g., it was 0"2 inch long in one wall lizard, and 0'18 
inch long in a frog. 

Aristotle was aware that the spleen was particularly 
liable to be diseased. |1 

He gives but little information about the pancreas. He 
merely says that a blood-vessel extends from the great 
blood-vessel to the so-called pancreas.^ This suggests that 
the pancreas was not generally known in his time, and 
Aristotle seems to be the first to mention it. I cannot find 
any reference to it in the works of Hippocrates, and the 
information given by the ancient writers, Eufus Ephesius, 
Galen, and others who lived after Aristotle's time, is quite 

■■'- Treatise on Elephants, Rangoon, 1901, p. 67. 
\ H. A. ii. c. 11, s 4, + Ibid. ii. c. 7, s. 5. 

§ Forms of Animal Life, 2nd edition, 1888, p. 353. 
II P. A. iii, c. 4, 667&. ^ H. A. iii. c. 4, s. 2. 


E. — The Alimentary Canal and its closely 


Many parts of Aristotle's statements about the alimentary- 
canal, omentum, mesentery, and diaphragm are of small 
value, but there are some parts which describe very well a 
few important anatomical details. He gives, e.g., good 
descriptions of the stomach of a ruminant, the pyloric caeca 
of fishes, and the intestinal c^ca of birds, the stomach of the 
mullet, the gizzard, proventriculus, and crop of a few 
birds, and the stomachs or digestive cavities of some 

After dealing with the chief terms used by Aristotle to 
denote various parts of the alimentary canal, and briefly 
discussing his views on digestion, the above-mentioned 
descriptions and a few others of less importance will be 

In almost every instance in which he refers to the 
oesophagus, he calls it stomaclios, and in most cases he calls 
the stomach coelia, under which term he includes also the 
gizzard of a bird and the digestive cavity of an invertebrate. 
The usual term used for an intestine is enteron, but, in many 
passages, he uses the phrases upper coelia and lower coelia, 
the former including the stomach and the latter either the 
whole or a part of the intestines. He does not appear to 
distinguish the small from the large intestines. 

Digestion was effected, according to Aristotle, wholly 
or almost wholly by the action of animal heat, w^hich he 
believed to be different from ordinary heat, such as that 
from a fire. The function of the mouth, he says, is not to 
digest but to facilitate digestion by masticating the food.* 
In the stomach and part of the intestines, digestion was 
effected by the heat supplied, so Aristotle believed, mainly 
by the liver, spleen, and omentum.! He says also that the 
caeca found in most fishes serve to store up food which is 
therein putrefied and digested.! Evidently, therefore, he 
/ not only followed Hippocrates, who believed that digestion 
N^' was due to the action of heat, but also some who believed 
that it was due to putrefaction. 

The nutritious matters, Aristotle says, passed into the 
blood through numerous vessels distributed throughout the 

- P. A. ii. c. 3, G50a. f Ibid. iii. c. 7, 670a, iv. c. 3, 6776. 

I Ibid. iii. c. 14, 675a. 


mesentery, and extending, like roots, between the intestine 
and the chief blood-vessels.* 

The oesophagus opens into the stomach, he says, after 
passing through the diaphragm, and is extensible both in 
length and diameter ; the human stomach, he adds, is like 
that of a dog, for it is not much wider than the intestine and 
looks like a wide part of the intestine.! The omentum, he 
says, is a fatty membrane attached along the middle of the 
stomach where there is, as it were, a seam of that organ, 
and the mesentery is a fatty membrane lying above or 
dorsally to the intestines.! The omentum, mesentery, 
and diaphragm are present, he says, in all animals with 
blood. § 

Aristotle evidently never saw a human stomach, the 
maximum sectional area of which is decidedly greater than 
that of the intestines, while its form is such as to distinguish 
it at once from them. The omentum, by which he probably 
meant the great omentum, is present in mammals only, but 
the mesentery is found in most, if not all, vertebrates. The 
w^ord used by Aristotle to denote the diaphragm is diazo77ia 
or sometimes phrenes or liypozoma, but each is sometimes 
used in a puzzling sense, for birds, reptiles, fishes, and even 
some invertebrates are said to have a diazoma or hypozoma. 
The meaning of these words can be ascertained, in such 
cases, only by reference to the context, and, in many 
cases, it is evident that they refer merely to a region of an 
animal's body, and not to a membrane or the like serving as 
a partition. Aristotle's ideas about the diazoma or hypo- 
zoma, like those of Plato, are connected with his ideas about 
the soul. In P. A. iii. c. 10, 6726, he says that all animals 
with blood have a diazoma, sometimes called phrenes, which 
is necessary for dividing the region of the nobler from that 
of the animal passions. 

He was aware that the stomachs of various animals vary 
greatly in size and shape, and in the positions of the inlet of 
the oesophagus, il but his most interesting description is that 
relating to the stomach of a ruminant, such description 
being so accurate as to suggest that he dissected the 
stomach of one of these animals. According to him, it has 
four chambers of the following kind: — "Commencing at 

- P. A. iv. c. 4, 678a. \ H. A. i. c. 13, s. 9. 

I Ibid. i. c. 13, s. 10, iii. c. 11, s. 2. ^ P. A. iv. c. 1, 6766. 

II H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 7; P. A. iii. c. 14, 675a. 


the mouth, the oesophagus extends to the rumen, the inside 
of which is rough and furrowed. To the rumen is connected, 
near the part where the oesophagus joins it, the reticuhim, 
so named from its appearance, for, although it is Hke a 
stomach on its outer side, it is Hke the meshwork of a net 
on its inner side ; it is much smaller than the rumen. Next 
to the reticulum is the psalterium, which is rough and folded 
on its inner side, and about as long as the reticulum. 
Finally, there is the abomasum, larger and longer than the 
psalterium ; there are many delicate folds on the inner sur- 
face of the abomasum, and the intestine extends from it."* 
This is one of the best of Aristotle's anatomical descriptions. 
The four chambers, viz., the rumen, reticulum, psalterium, 
and abomasum, are called by him the meg ale Koilia, 
KeJcryphalos, Echinos, and Enystron, respectively. In 
P. A. iii. c. 14, 6746, he says that these chambers com- 
pensate for the want of front teeth in the upper jaws of 
ruminants, and that, during its passage from chamber to 
chamber in succession, the food is reduced to a pulp. 

Some animals, according to Aristotle, have intestinal 
caeca, and no animal without front teeth in its upper jaw 
has an intestine without a caecum. The elephant, he says, 
has an intestine with its parts so grown together that it 
seems to have four chambers for its food, and it has no 
receptacle for food other than these.! 

Not only animals without front teeth in the upper jaw, 
or ruminants, but many others, e.g., the horse, rabbit, rat, 
dog, and monkey, have a well-developed caecum. The 
passage about the elephant is not clear, but it may be 
mentioned that the elephant has a large caecum and, 
according to Owen, its duodenum is very much con- 

Aristotle knew that some birds have a crop, for he 
specially notes its presence in the domestic fowl, dove, 
wood pigeon, and partridge, and says that it is a large 
receptacle of skin in which the food is first received but 
not digested.! 

The proventriculus or glandular stomach of birds was 
known to Aristotle, but he considered it to be merely a 
storage chamber for food before being comminuted. § In 
H.A. ii. c. 12, s. 15, he refers to the proventriculus in the 

* H. A. ii. c. 12, ss. 5 and 6. \ Ibid. ii. c. 12, s. 8. 

I Ibid. ii. c. 12, s. 14. § P. A. iii. c. 14, 674&. 


raven, crow, quail, and owl, and his statements show that 
he was aware that the proventriculus was well-developed in 
the first three birds, and that, in the owl, it was but little 
wider than the oesophagus. 

He says correctly that most birds have a fleshy and 
compact gizzard, with an inner, strong skin separable from 
the fleshy part.* He knew well the intestinal caeca of birds, 
and states correctly that they are found in most birds, are 
few in number, and are situated towards the termination of 
the intestines.! It seems strange that, while he attempts 
to give the numbers of the caeca in fishes, he merely says 
that those of birds are few in number. The cseca in birds 
are, as is now well known, almost always two. 

He must have examined the alimentary canal of many 
birds, but he seems to have examined that of the quail with 
more than usual care. According to him, this bird has a 
well-marked proventriculus, and a crop which is at a great 
distance from the gizzard, considering the small size of the 

The proventriculus of the quail is close to the gizzard, 
and, when gently inflated, about four-tenths of an inch in 
diameter at its widest part, while the diameter of the oeso- 
phagus is about three-tenths of an inch. Its crop is a 
compact oval bag, and in one quail I found it to be 1"8 inches 
from the gizzard, which seemed to be a great distance, 
considering the size of the bird. 

He states incorrectly that, in most fishes, the stomach 
is connected directly to the mouth, and that, on this 
account, the stomach falls forward into the mouth when 
they pursue smaller fishes. § 

The phenomenon described here, but incorrectly ex- 
plained, occurs more especially in fishes having an air 
bladder which does not communicate by means of a duct 
with the alimentary canal. When a fish passes quickly or 
is drawn from deep water towards the surface, the gas in 
its bladder expands, and may tear the bladder and even the 
mesentery and cause the anterior part of the alimentary 
canal to project into the fish's mouth. 

The nature of the stomach and intestines in fishes is, 
he says, similar to that in snakes, for fishes have a simple 
stomach of different form in different fishes, for some have 

* H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 15. f Ibid. ii. c. 12, s. 17. 

X Ibid. ii. c. 12, ss. 15 and 17. § Ihid. ii. 12, s. 4. 




a stomach which is quite different from that of others, such 
as, for example, the parrot-wrasse, which is the only fish 
that seems to ruminate.* 

In fishes, the stomach and intestines, especially the 
stomach, are usually more complicated in form than those 
in snakes. Some fishes, like the sharks, have capacious 
stomachs shaped like a bent tube or siphon, and many, e.g., 
the eel and bass, have stomachs with a large caecum. 
There are other forms, but these are the chief types. The 
stomach of the parrot-wrasse (Skaros) is without a caecum, 
and appears to be of simpler form than that of most fishes, 
but I have been unable to obtain a specimen for dissection 
of the stomach or to find a full description of its general 
structure. The so-called ruminating habits of Aristotle's 
Skaros will be dealt with in Chapter xvii. 

The grey mullet has a muscular stomach which serves 
as a powerful grinding organ, like a bird's gizzard, and 
Aristotle, who calls this fish Kestreus, was aware of this 

The pyloric caeca of fishes were well known to Aristotle, 
who says that they are situated near the stomach and may 
be few or many, or, in some fishes, absent.! The most 
important part of his account of the numbers of caeca in 
different fishes is given below. 

According to Aristotle, the Malakia or cephalopods have 
a long and narrow oesophagus passing into a large crop, like 
that of a bird, and close to this crop is the stomach, shaped 
like the whorl of a whelk ; from this an intestine, small 









Grey Mullet 




Four to nine 




Perca fluviatilis, three 
Serranus scriba, seven 




Eight (Cuv. and Valeuc.) 


Eed Mullet 

Eight, about 


Many or few 


Four (Cuv. and Valenc.) 

Selache (most) 



None, with few, if any, 



* H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 13. f P- A. iii. c. 14, 675a. 

\ H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 13. 


but wider than the oesophagus, extends backwards towards 
the mouth.* 

This description apphes very well to the alimentary 
canal of a sepia or loligo (calamary), except that Aristotle 
mistakes for a crop what is the stomach, and the stomach 
for an intestinal caecum. He also states correctly that the 
sepia and calamary differ in the form of the above-mentioned 
parts, but adds incorrectly that the parts about the stomach 
are the same in the sepia and octopus, t for the octopus has 
a well-marked crop. He states correctly that the ink bag 
of the cephalopods serves as a means of defence, that its 
duct opens close to the terminal end of the intestine, and that 
it is largest in the sepia and situated lower down than in 
the octopus and calamary, t 

Aristotle's statements about the gastric teeth of crusta- 
ceans have been discussed in Chapter x. With respect to 
the general characters of the alimentary canal in crustaceans, 
he states substantially correctly that the oesophagus is 
short and opens into a membranous stomach, whence 
extends a simple intestine of uniform diameter. § 

His descriptions of the alimentary canal in that section 
of his Ostrakoderma which consists of molluscs are full 
of difficulties. He mentions some species of Buccinum 
{Keryx), Murex or perhaps Purpura (Porphura), and other 
gastropods in his descriptions, but does not describe all the 
chief parts of the alimentary canal for any one of these. 
He gives a concise general description of the alimentary 
canal of a gastropod in P. A. iv. c. 5, 6796, where he states 
that next to the mouth is a crop, like that of a bird, then a 
stomachos, and next to this a coelia or stomach in which is 
the mecon (liver), whence the intestine takes its origin. 
Aristotle seems to be referring to the crop, which occurs, it 
is true, in snails and many other gastropods, but not close 
to the mouth in the way which he seems to suggest. 
It is less likely that Aristotle refers to the buccal cavity. 
The relations between the stomach, intestine, and mecon 
or liver he did not understand. The stomach requires to be 
carefully dissected out from the enveloping mass of the 
liver ; he does not seem to have done this, but took the 
whole mass for the stomach, which he says contained the 

- H. A. iv. c. 1, s. 10; P. A. iv. c. 5, 6786. 
f P. A. iv. c. 5, 6786. \ Ibid. iv. c. 5, 6786 and 679a. 

§ H. A. iv. c. 2. ss. 10-12 ; P. A. iv. c. 5, 679(T, 


Aristotle says that Biiccinum and Murex or Purpura 
have a tongue-like proboscis which is hard and can bore 
through the shells of animals used as baits.* The last part 
of this statement is incorrect, for these molluscs bore mainly 
by means of their radulas. 

The Kochloi which appear to have comprised the snails, 
Helicidce, are said by him to have a stomach close to the 
mouth and like the crop of a bird ; beneath it, he adds, are 
two hard, white bodies, like nipples, and from it a simple 
long stomaclios extends to the mecoii in the spiral of the 
shell, t What he calls the stomach seems to be the crop, 
and the hard, white bodies seem to be the dart sacs of the 

After describing the five teeth, constituting the chief part 
of what is still called " Aristotle's lantern," he says that the 
oesophagus of the sea-urchin leads to the stomach, with 
its five loops full of excreta, t He had evidently examined 
the internal organs of a sea-urchin, in which the gastro- 
intestinal canal is suspended, in the form of a coil with 
loops, from the inner sides of the shell. 

According to Aristotle, most of his Entoma have an 
alimentary canal which passes directly and without divisions 
from the mouth to the anus, but a few have a coiled alimen- 
tary canal, and in some, e.g., the locust, there is a stomach 
succeeded by a straight or coiled intestine. § 

This is a very general description, and is not a good one. 
Many larvee, myriapods, centipedes, and some others of his 
Entoma have a fairly straight, simple alimentary canal, but 
many of his Entoma, e.g., beetles, bees, &c., have a com- 
plicated alimentary canal and intestinal caeca, the existence 
of which Aristotle does not appear to have known. 

F. — The Urinogenital Organs. 

It has already been shown that Aristotle believed that 
the blood, having left the heart, never returned, but was 
used up or dissipated in various ways. It is well-known 
that a part of the blood is removed by the action of the 
urinary organs, but he believed that the essential organ for 
the performance of this function was the bladder, and that 

■■' H. A. iv. c. 4, s. 8. f Ibid, iv. c. 4, ss. 8 and 9. 
I H. A. iv. c. 5, s. 5 ; P. A. iv. c. 5, 680a. 
I H.A. iv. c. 7, s. 7 ; P. A. iv. c. 5, G82a. 


the kidneys merely assisted the bladder and might even be 

He gives some interesting information about both the 
kidneys and the bladder in various animals, Eeferring 
chiefly to the human kidneys, he shows clearly that he was 
aware that each kidney had a hollow part and a compact 
vascular part, that blood-vessels, now known as the renal 
artery and renal vein, extend between the vascular part and 
the aorta and great blood-vessel, respectively, and that a 
strong tube, the ureter, passes from the hollow part of each 
kidney to the bladder, t 

The human kidneys, Aristotle says, are similar to those 
of an ox, being made up, as it were, of many kidneys and 
not being compact bodies, like the kidneys of sheep or some 
other animals. I The kidneys of the human foetus and, 
occasionally, those of the adult are lobulated, but they are 
not like the kidneys of an ox. In P. A. iii. c. 9, 6716, 
he says, substantially correctly, that the kidneys of a seal 
are like those of an ox. 

He believed that all oviparous animals, except some 
tortoises, were without kidneys or bladder, although he 
speaks of some birds having certain flat, kidney-like bodies. § 
The Emys, by which he seems to have meant the pond- 
tortoise, had neither kidneys nor bladder, because fluid 
could easily escape through the soft skin of the 
The marine tortoise, he says, is the only oviparous quadruped 
which has its kidneys and bladder proportional in size to the 
other parts of the animal, and its kidneys are, he adds, like 
those of oxen;1T the land tortoises have a very small bladder, 
he says, and the marine tortoises, a large one.** 

Kidneys are present in birds, reptiles, amphibians, and 
fishes, but a true urinary bladder is found in mammals only. 
It is evident that Aristotle believed that tortoises were the 
only oviparous animals in which a bladder could be said to 
exist, and that in land tortoises it was very small. It is 
well-known that a so-called urinary bladder is present in 
many other oviparous animals, and that the bladder is 
usually much larger in the land tortoises than in the marine 

* P. A. iii. c. 7, 6706. 
f H. A. i. c. 14, s. 7 ; P. A. iii. c. 9, 6716. 

I H. A. i. c. 14. e. 7 ; P. A. iii. c. 9, 6716. 

§ fl. A. ii. c. 12, s. 1 ; P. A. iii. c. 9, 671a. 

II P. A. iii. c. 9, 671a. 11 H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 1. 

** P. A. iii. c. 8, 671a. 


ones. In some land tortoises the bladder is a large reservoir 
furnishing them with moistm*e when at a distance from 
their usual drinking places ; this is well exemplified by 
Darwin in his Naturalist's Voijage roimd the World (2nd 
edition, London, 1890, p. 409). With respect to Aristotle's 
statement about the form of the kidneys of tortoises, it may 
be said that these kidneys are compact but present a series 
of convolutions, e.g., the surface of each kidney of a small 
specimen of the Grecian tortoise showed a series of ridges and 
furrows, and, when the capsule was removed, the substance 
of the kidney showed the ridges and furrows very clearly 
indeed, the whole forming a pattern scarcely less complicated 
than that seen on the surface of the human brain. 

Aristotle says that, in all animals, the right kidney is 
higher or more forward than the left, and is drier and less 
fatty.* The right kidney is generally nearer the head than 
the left in mammals and in the grass-snake and some other 
snakes. In Man and the pig the left kidney is often a little 
nearer the head than the right, while the kidneys of most 
birds, of some pigs and sheep, and of the frog and some 
other animals, are as nearly as possible symmetrical in 
position. The amount of fat about the kidneys varies much, 
even in individuals of the same species. In sheep, pigs, and 
some other animals, it may be said that, when the kidneys 
are unsymmetrical in position, the amount of fat about the 
one which is nearer the head is greater than that about the 

It has been shown how, contrary to the modern opinion, 
Aristotle subordinated the kidneys to the bladder ; in a 
somewhat similar way he subordinated the testes to the 
seminal ducts. This will be clear from the following 
epitome oi G. A. i. c. 4: — The testes are not necessary for 
reproductive purposes, for, if they were, they would be found 
in all animals which reproduce. Now, neither snakes nor 
fishes have testes, yet their poroi (ducts) are full of semen. 
The testes, in fact, serve a kind of regulating purpose only, 
and are not parts of the poroi, but attachments, just like the 
stones which weavers attach to the warp, and, when the 
testes are removed, the poroi are withdrawn backwards. 
Hence, in such a case, the poroi are withdrawn and the 
animal becomes impotent, but, in one instance, a bull was 
temporarily potent because the poroi were not withdrawn. 

•-:= H. A.i. c. 14, s. 7. 


Evidently, therefore, the organs serving to secrete the 
semen were, according to him, the seminal ducts, and the 
testes were adjuncts sufficiently important, in some cases, to 
ensure their efficiency. In some cases, the ducts could act 
without the aid of the testes, for, in many passages, he 
makes it clear that there were no organs to which he could 
give the name testes in some animals, viz., in snakes, fishes, 
and all animals with gills.* He was probably deceived 
mainly by the usually elongated and duct-like form of the 
testes in these animals. Cartilaginous fishes usually have 
testes of a compact form, but it is not clear whether he in- 
tended to include these fishes within the meaning of the 
passages above cited. Probably he did not, for he often 
describes the cartilaginous fishes as if they were a separate 
and distinct group. 

In a long series of passages in H. A. iii. c. 1, ss. 7-9, 
Aristotle gives a remarkable description of the anatomy of 
the testes of what are now called mammals, and exemplifies 
his meaning by reference to a drawing, which has been lost. 
This description was evidently based on one or more dis- 
sections. Notwithstanding many difficulties in the Greek 
text, it is evident that he had some knowledge of the 
spermatic arteries, the epididymis, the vas deferens and its 
communication with the urethra, and the tunica vaginalis, 
part of which envelops the epididymis. He states that the 
testes are not of flesh, but are nearly of the nature of flesh. + 
The second part of this statement is incorrect ; each testis 
is composed chiefly of a very large number of seminiferous 
tubules, enclosed within a strong, white, fibrous envelope. 

Among the numerous statements he makes about the 
male organs of particular kinds of animals are some of 
special interest. He says that the testes of the elephant 
are near the kidneys, I and that the testes of some animals, 
e.g., the lizard, tortoise, crocodile, and hedgehog, are in the 
region of the kidneys, but some have them near the 
abdominal wall, like the dolphin and elephant. § 

The first statement, relating to the elephant, is quite 
correct, for, according to Dr. M. Watson, the testes, which 
are nearly globular, lie below the posterior ends of the 
kidneys. li The testes of the dolphin are abdominal, and lie 

* n. A. ii. c. 9, ss. 1 and 2, ii. c. 12, s. 10, iii. c. 1, s. 1 ; P. A. iv. 
c. 13, 697rt; G. A. i. c. 3, 716&. 

f H. A. i. c. 10, 8. 4. I Ibid. ii. c. 3, s. 4. § Ibid. iii. c. 1, s. 2. 
II Journ, Anat. and Physiol, vol. vii. 1873, p. 65. 


far back. Those of the hedgehog undergo, as is well known 
a great change both in position and size, according to the 
time of year. Aristotle's statements about the testes of the 
lizard, tortoise, and crocodile are substantially correct. 

His statements about the os penis of the marten and 
other animals have been discussed in Chapter x. 

Much has been written about the hectocotylus of the 
argonaut, octopus, and other cephalopods, which is an arm 
specially modified for the purpose of conveying the sperma- 
tozoa to the female. Aristotle was the first to describe this 
organ and to suggest its proper function. He says, speaking 
particularly of an octopus : " Some say that the male has 
some kind of external generative organ in one of its arms, 
on which are two very large suckers, that such organ is 
sinewy, as it were, as far as the middle of the arm, and that 
the whole of it is sent into the funnel of the female."* 
The male, he says, differs from the female in having a 
longer head and the part of the arm, called the generative 
organ by fishermen, is white.! The last of its arms, he 
says, is the most pointed of all, is the only one which is 
whitish, and is used in copulation. I Finally, he says that 
the male must approach the funnel of the female, whether 
he emits semen, a part [of his body] , or any other agent, 
and that the insertion of that arm of the octopus, which 
fishermen say is used in copulation, through the funnel is 
for the sake of an intertwining and not for the purpose of 
an organ of generation, for it is outside the funnel and body 
of the female. § 

It is clear, therefore, that he believed, on the authority 
of fishermen, that the strangely modified arm was an organ 
of generation. There does not seem to be sufficient evidence 
to show that he knew of the free or so-called autotomous 
hectocotylus of the argonaut and some other cephalopods. 
The cephalopod to which his descriptions w^ere intended to 
refer is generally admitted to be Octopus vulgaris of the 
Mediterranean. A description of the hectocotylised arm of 
this cephalopod is given in Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (2), xx. pp. 
98-9, where it is said that the arm is short and pointed at 
its end, and that it has a very white fold of skin on its 
dorsal side and sometimes one or two exceptionally large 
suckers. If this description is compared with Aristotle's, 

■•• H. A. V. c. 5, s. 1. I Ibid. v. c. 10, s. 1. 

+ Ibid. iv. c. 1, s. 6. § G. A. i. c. 15, 720&. 


it will be evident that this cephalopod was carefully examined 
by him. 

The very well-known account, given in Owen's Anat. 
Invertebr., 1855, pp. 630-1, and in many other zoological 
works, of the way in which several investigators rediscovered 
the hectocotylus and determined its nature, reads like a 
romance. A comparison of the views of some of these 
investigators with those expressed by Aristotle should increase 
his reputation as an investigator. 

Aristotle noticed the vasa deferentia of the Karides, 
crustaceans which cannot be identified satisfactorily but 
seem to have comprised prawns and shrimps, for he says 
that the males have two coiled, white tubes extending from 
the bases of the last pair of legs into the body.* The rest 
of his description is not clear, but he seems to have believed 
erroneously that seminal ducts extended alongside the in- 
testine from the coiled tubes to the telson. This is borne 
out by his statement that in the male Karahos, or spiny 
lobster, ducts containing seminal fluid extend to the anus 
from the thoracic part.f 

It has been stated already that the two hard white 
bodies below the crop of the KocJilosl were probably the 
dart sacs, but Aristotle did not understand their sexual 
functions. He did not consider his Ostrakoderma to have 
any separate male seminal organs. This seems to be a fair 
conclusion from the numerous statements which he makes. 
One of these may be specially cited. In G. A. iii. c. 11, 761&, 
he says that Buccinum, Murex, and others said to make cells 
like bee-hives, or egg-cases, eject a sticky fluid from some- 
thing of a spermatic nature, but that we ought not to 
consider this to be semen but something which, in a sense, 
partakes of the nature of what is in plants. 

He recognized that there was a distinction of sexes in 
some of his Entoma, but )t^e does not seem to have believed 
that the males had any seminal ducts. He says distinctly 
that, among those which copulate, the males do not appear 
to have any seminal ducts. § The idea that sexual genera- 
tion under such circumstances could take place may seem 
to be strange, but it will be seen from Chapter xiv. that it 
was in accordance with some of Aristotle's views on generation. 

When describing the female organs, Aristotle repeatedly 
uses an important anatomical term, viz., hystera, to denote 

- H. A. iv. c. 2, s. 13. f Ibid. iv. c. 2, s. 12 

I Ibid. iv. c. 4, s. 8. § G. A. i. c. 16, 721a. 


one or more parts of these organs. That the Jujstera is 
internal is clear from many passages, and especially from 
G. A. i. c. 12, 719a, where it is stated that the hystera is 
internal in all females, because of the need for guarding the 
young animal and keeping it warm. Its meaning is clear 
to this limited extent, but it is often difficult to decide to 
what part or parts the term refers. In some cases it means 
the uterus of a mammal, e.g., in H. A. vii. c. 4, s. 1, but in 
many other passages it means the ovaries, or these and the 
oviducts, of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, cephalopods, 
and crustaceans. 

Even when describing the organs of mammals he does 
not always distinguish between the uterus and the ovaries, 
and, in G. A. i. c. 3, 7166, he says that all hystercs are in 
two parts, just as there are two testes in males. He also 
mentions the hysterce in close connection and by way of 
comparison with the testes. His fullest description of the 
uterus of a mammal is in H. A. iii. c. 1, ss. 10 and 11. 
It seems to be clear that he gave the name hystera 
more particularly to the more external and the name 
delphys to the innermost parts of the uterus, and that he 
was acquainted with the cornua or horns of the uterus in 
some animals, and with the twisted or waved parts of the 
Fallopian tubes or oviducts. 

One of the most interesting passages relating to the 
hystera of viviparous animals is that in which he records 
the existence of placental animals. He says that the 
hysterce of ruminants and also the hare, mouse, and bat, 
among animals with front teeth in both jaws, have cotyle- 
dones (placentae) in the pregnant hystera, and that all other 
viviparous animals with feet and with front teeth in both 
jaws have a smooth hystera, the foetus being attached to the 
hystera itself and not to a cotyledon.* 

The animals in which the placentae are restricted to 
circumscribed patches are much more numerous than 
Aristotle believed, and among them may be specially 
mentioned, in addition to those mentioned by Aristotle, the 
Carnivora and Insectivora. 

In his short descriptions of the hysterce of birds, reptiles, 
batrachians, and cartilaginous fishes, m. H. A. iii. c. 1, ss. 12 
and 13, he clearly refers to the oviducts communicating with 
a single passage leading to the exterior. 

" H, A, iii. c. 1, s. 15. 


He did not believe that fishes had any visible external 
passages from the generative organs.* In cartilaginous 
fishes, the genital passages open into a cloaca, but in most 
bony fishes the external passages from the generative organs 
are visible behind the anus, and may be readily seen in the 
bass, gurnard, silurus, and salmon. 

Aristotle's descriptions of the female generative organs 
of the invertebrata are sometimes very difficult to under- 
stand at all. They were probably based on dissections, but 
it is almost certain that the parts were not dissected out at 
all clearly. 

He misunderstood the arrangement of the female organs 
of crustaceans in much the same way as he misunderstood 
the arrangement of the male organs, for he speaks of the 
oviducts extending along the intestine and opening out- 
wards somewhere on the telson.t 

The female octopus, he says, has an woV, meaning 
probably the ovarium, uneven outside, smooth and white 
inside, and containing a very large quantity of eggs ; in 
Sepia, he says, there are two such ovaria, also containing 
many white eggs.+ This appears to be his meaning, but it 
is difficult to understand, for the eggs are contained in 
ovisacs projecting from the interior surface of the ovarium, 
and no cephalopod seems to have more than one ovarium ; 
Sepia has one oviduct while Octopus has two. 

There are many other statements about the generative 
parts of these and other invertebrata, and, among these, 
may be specially mentioned the one in which he correctly 
records the number of the ovaria in Echinus, for he says 
that they are five in number. § 

He gives some information, chiefly mH. A. ii. c. 3, about 
the teats of various animals. He states correctly that the 
elephant has two teats between its fore legs, and that the 
camel and leopardess have four each, but gives the number 
of teats in the bear as four instead of six, and that in the 
lioness as two instead of four. 

He shows that he had examined the dolphin carefully, 
for he says that this animal has two mammae, not in its an- 
terior part but near its genitals, that it has no visible teats, but 
two ducts, as it were, one on each side, from which the 
milk flows, being sucked by the young ones as they follow 
their mother, and that this had been clearly seen by some 

- H. A. ii. c. 9, s. 2. f Ibid. iv. c. 2, ss. 12 and 13. 

X Ibid. iv. c. 1) ss. 13 and 14. § Ibid. iv. c. 5, s. 5. 


people.* These statements are substantially correct. Ac- 
cording to Cuvier, there are two mammae, whence milk flows 
through nipples situated in little pits (fossettes), one on each 
side of the vulva, t 

Male solid-hoofed animals have no teats, Aristotle says, 
except those which resemble their dams, a phenomenon 
which is seen in horses, t The horse is one of the com- 
paratively few animals in which the males are without 
teats, but John Hunter found traces of them in some 
stallions. § 

The above comprise the most interesting parts of 
Aristotle's researches on the urinogenital organs. There 
are many others in various parts of his works, but those 
discussed are sufficient, perhaps, to represent fairly the 
value of his researches. 

* H. A. ii. c. 9, s. 1. 

f Lccons d'Anat. Compar., 2nd edition, Paris, vol. viii. 1846, pp. 
604 and 608. 

I H. A. ii. c. 3, s. 2. 

§ The Works of John Hunter, edit, by J. F. Palmer, 1835-7, vol. iv. 
p. 37. 


FUNCTIONS {continued). 

G. — The Beain and Spinal Coed. 

Aeistotle's views on the nature and functions of some 
important organs of animals were very different from 
modern views on the same subjects. This has been made 
clear in the preceding chapters and is strikingly exempli- 
fied by his views on the brain and spinal cord. 

He believed that the brain was not a centre of sensation, 
but a cooling means adapted to moderate the heat of the 
body and to aid, or render more certain, the action of 
the sensory organs, while the spinal marrow, being of a hot 
nature, moderated the action of the brain. Such, speaking 
generally, were his views. 

Some philosophers, he says, believe that sensation resides 
in the brain, but this is not true, for, since the brain is quite 
devoid of feeling, it cannot be a cause of sensation ; the 
philosophers referred to are aware that the brain is the most 
peculiar organ of the body, and that some of the sense 
organs are lodged in the head. They cannot, he adds, find 
out the cause of this, yet infer that the brain and sensation 
are associated together, but it has been shown already that 
the heart is the sensory centre.* 

Among philosophers who believed that the brain was 
the centre of sensation were Diogenes of Apollonia and 
Alcmseon. Aristotle clearly suggests that they reasoned on 
insufficient data. He himself considered their views and 
rejected them. His investigation and process of reasoning 
about this subject exemplify both the excellences and defects 
of his method. His observations on the brain, in one or 
more animals, led him to believe that it was cold, that its 
substance was bloodless, and that it was devoid of sensation ; 
he also concluded that the brain was found in animals with 

- P. A. ii. c, 10, 656a. 


blood, and that a brain or anything analogous to a brain 
was not found in other animals, except the cephalopods. * 
Sensation he believed to be manifested more especially in 
parts with blood, and, in one passage, which seems to be an 
interpolation, it is stated that no part that is without blood 
has sensation, t This passage must be read, however, in 
conjunction with many other passages showing that he 
meant that no part that is without blood or what is 
analogous to blood manifests sensation, for his so-called 
bloodless animals have sensitive parts. He recognized, 
however, an apparent connection between sensation and the 
presence of blood, and, reasoning consistently, concluded 
that the brain, cold, bloodless, devoid of sensation, and 
absent from many animals which manifested sensation, 
could not be the sensory centre. 

So far, his reasoning, although based on false data, is 
quite intelligible. There remain, however, a series of 
statements which are not always consistent and are difficult 
to understand. A strong argument in favour of the view 
that the brain is the sensory centre is that it is connected 
with the sense organs by what are now called nerves. Now 
Aristotle concluded, and adduced arguments to support his 
conclusion, that the brain was not connected with the sense 
organs. He says : "It is clear from inspection and still 
more from its being insensible when touched that the brain 
has no unbroken connection {awex^ia) with sensory organs."! 
Yet there are a few passages which suggest, and one which 
seems to show, that he noticed such a connection, but he 
did not admit that the connection was with the brain, but 
with the blood-vessels about the brain. These passages will 
next be discussed. 

He says : "Three ducts {'nopoi) extend from each eye to the 
brain, the largest and the medium-sized one to the cere- 
bellum, and the smallest, which is nearest the nose, to the 
brain itself. The largest ducts lie side by side and do not 
come into contact with each other, but the medium-sized 
ones do so ; this is especially evident in fishes, for the 
medium-sized ducts are nearer the brain than the largest, 
and the smallest are very much separated from each other 
and do not come into contact. "§ 

-'' P. A. ii. c. 7, 6526 ; H. A. iii. c. 14, s. 1, and in many other pass- 
ages in his works. 

\P.A. ii. c. 10, 6566. + Ibid. ii. c. 7, 6526. 

§ H.AA.Q.;^, s. 4. 



The medium-sized ducts may be the optic nerves, except 
that they are said to pass to the cerebelhim. Aristotle says 
that they come into contact with, or fall on, each other 
{sy??ipiptousi) , and that this is well seen in fishes, suggesting 
that he had seen the meeting or crossing of the optic nerves. 
Aristotle's description is insufficient for the determination of 
the other ducts. Dissections of various animals, especially 
fishes, made for the purpose of determining these ducts, have 
not enabled me to arrive at a conclusion. 

The next passage to be considered is much less ambigu- 
ous. Aristotle says : " The brain of the chamseleon is a 
little above its eyes and continuous (ffwsx^i) with them."* 
This shows as clearly as any passage can be expected to do 
that he saw the optic nerves of the chamseleon to their full 
extent, yet, as has been stated already, he did not admit 
that the brain was in unbroken connection with the sense 
organs. He did not understand the nature of the nerves 
which he saw. On the contrary, it seems that he considered 
them to be ducts conveying nutriment or other fluid, for he 
says that the purest of the moisture about the brain is 
separated through the ducts which are seen to lead from 
the eyes to the membrane about the brain, f 

Not one of the passages relating to the ducts between 
the brain and sense organs is as clear as that already given 
about the chamaeleon. It seems strange that, after having 
exposed the optic nerve by dissection in the way which that 
passage suggests, he should have adhered to his belief in the 
want of an unbroken connection between the substance of 
the brain and any of the sense organs. 

There are a few other passages which are difficult 
and are consistent only in showing that he did not 
believe in such a connection. In H. A. i. c. 9, s. 1, it is 
stated that no duct (to'/joj) extends from the brain to either 
ear, but a blood-vessel extends from the brain to each ear ; 
in P. A. ii. c. 10, 6566, however, it is stated that a duct ex- 
tends from each ear to the back part of the head. The 
effect of the various passages previously cited is to show 
that the ducts, whatever their real nature may be, do not 
lead to the substance of the brain, but to some part of the 
blood system, and so communicate with the heart, 
Aristotle's centre of sensation. 

There is an interesting passage which bears upon the 

* H. A. ii. c. 7, s. 5. f G. A. ii. c. 6, 744fl. 


question of the extent of Aristotle's knowledge of what are 
now called nerves. In that passage he says : " Numbness 
does not affect any part of the body where there is no vej/^ov."* 
This statement, at first sight, might seem to be evidence of 
an important discovery, but it has already been shown how 
unlikely it is that he ever distinguished nerves from sinews 
(vBupa.). This distinction was first effected, to some extent, 
by Erasistratus and Herophilus, and more fully by Eufus 
Ephesius and Galen. 

Aristotle, giving his own views on the functions of the 
brain, says that Nature has arranged that it should act in 
opposition to the heart, which is hot, and so regulate it, and 
has formed the brain of material which is earthy and watery 
and therefore adapted to have a cooling effect.! The brain, 
according to him, exercises a very important function in 
connection with the heart, and is one of the most important 
organs of the body ; he says that it is reasonable that the 
membranes about the brain and the heart should be very 
strong and stout, because the heart and brain require most 
protection, since they are the chief regulating powers of 
life.t That the brain, under the influence of pain, grief, or 
pleasure, exercises a marked effect on the heart is very well 
known. Aristotle points this out very clearly, although he 
does not correctly explain it. He says that the heart is 
very much influenced by the smallest change in the blood on 
the outer surface of the brain. § 

The sensory organs which he considered to be more 
reliable than the others are usually situated in the head, for 
they are rendered more certain in their action, he says, in 
consequence of their being supplied with the purest blood ; 
the effect of the action of hot blood would also be to impair 
the action of the sensory organs, and the eyes in particular 
are in the head because, he says in effect, both the brain 
and the eyes are of the nature of water. || 

Aristotle's views on the functions of the brain, therefore, 
are not fairly represented by stating that the brain is a 
cooling means, and still less fairly by stating, as Galen seems 
to do, 11 that Aristotle considered the brain to be a mere 
sponge, as it were, saturated with water. On the contrary, 
he assigned to it very important functions in connection 

- H. A. in. c. 5, s. 4. f P. A. ii. c. 7, G526. 

I Ibid. iii. c. 11, 6736. § Ibid. ii. c. 7, 6536. 

II Ibid. ii. c. 10, 6566 ; De Sens2i, dc, c. 2, 488a. 
H De Usu Partium, dc, viii. c. 3. 


with the sensory organs, and considered it to be a peculiar 
organ second in importance only to the heart. 

His views on the spinal marrow were almost entirely 
erroneous. He considered it to be different from ordinary 
marrow, but decided that it required to be composed of a 
glutinous and sinewy substance, to enable it to assist in 
holding the vertebrae together.* He says that there were 
some who, seeing that the brain and spinal marrow were 
continuous, concluded that the brain consisted of marrow, 
but, he says, they are quite different in character, the 
marrow being hot and the brain cold, so that the marrow 
moderates the action of the brain, t 

Aristotle gives some interesting information about the 
brain and its membranes in certain animals. In Man, 
and other animals which have a brain, he says, it lies in the 
front part of the head, the back of the head being empty to 
an extent varying with the size of the animal, but Man has 
a brain which, considering his size, is larger and moister 
than that of any other animal. I 

His views on the nature of the organ of hearing probably 
induced him to believe in the existence of an air cavity in 
the back of the head, for he says that the so-called empty 
space at the back of the head contains air, that the organ of 
hearing is of air, and that a duct connects each ear with the 
back of the head.§ He may also have been influenced by 
statements, in a treatise by Hippocrates, || and one probably 
by a contemporary of Hippocrates, 51 that the brain lies 
more towards the front than the back of the head, which 
contains only a small amount of brain. 

His estimate of the relative size of the human brain is 
not quite true. The average weight of the brain of an 
adult man to his total weight is as 1 to 45 about; the 
corresponding ratios for the long-tailed field mouse, house 
martin, and sparrow are about 1 to 30, 1 to 33, and 1 to 30 
respectively, and the brain of the goldfinch or the blue tit 
is relatively still larger. It will be seen that all these are 
small animals. 

It is not true that the brain of Man is moister than that 
of other animals, but Aristotle's statement is in accordance 
with his ideas of the cooling function of the brain. Dr. 

* P. A. ii. c. 6, 6516 and 652a. f Ibid. ii. c. 7, 652a. 
I H. A.i.c. 7, i. c. 13, s. 2 ; P. A. ii. c. 7, 653a. 
§ P. A. ii. c. 10, 6566. |! On Wounds in the Head, c. 2. 

IT On Diseases, ii. c. 8, 



Ogle suggests that the statement is based on an examination 
of the foetal brain,* It is practically certain that Aristotle 
did not examine an adult human brain, but he may have 
examined the brain of some animal in which brain a rapid 
decomposition had set in. I have been informed of a case 
in which, the brain pan having been removed for the 
purpose of taking out the brain from a comparatively fresh 
body, a large part of the brain flowed away. 

Aristotle states that there are two membranes about the 
brain, a weaker vascular one about the brain itself and a 
stronger one next the bone ; that the brain is divided into 
right and left halves ; that the cerebellum at the extreme 
end of it differs in appearance and texture from the rest of 
the brain ; and that, in most animals, there is a small 
cavity in the middle of the brain.! 

There are three membranes about the brain, the inner- 
most being the pia mater, which is intimately associated 
with the arachnoid membrane or middle membrane, and the 
outermost being the dura mater. Aristotle probably saw 
the strong dura mater, and the other two membranes, these 
two delicate membranes constituting his inner membrane. 
The cerebellum is somewhat darker than the rest of the brain, 
and is striated or ribbed externally, while in form it is quite 
different, as Aristotle says, from the rest of the brain. The 
statement about the small cavity in the middle of the brain 
is true as far as it goes. In vertebrates, there are cavities 
or ventricles (four in Man) within the brain and in com- 
munication with one another. 

In several passages he makes it clear that he believed 
that the substance of the brain was quite bloodless. 1 This 
belief has been used against him by some of his critics. 

It is clear from several passages, e. g., H. A. iii. c. 3, s. 7, 
that he knew of the presence of blood and blood-vessels in 
the membranes about the brain, and he says that the brain 
itself is bloodless, so that he evidently refers to the brain 
divested of its membranes. This does not, however, over- 
come the difficulty, for if the brain of a mammal, such as a 
sheep or rabbit, be examined, after removal of the membranes 
and careful washing, small blood-vessels can be seen ex- 
tending some distance into it. Some have suggested that 
Aristotle made his observations only on the brain of an 

■'• Aristotle on the Parts of Animals, 1882, p. 165. 

f H. A. i. c. 13, ss. 2 aud 3, iii. c. 11, s. 1. 

I H. A. i. c. 13, s. 3, iii. c. 3, s. 8 ; P. A. ii. c. 7, 652a. 


animal which had been cooked, or on the brain of some 
reptile or fish. 

It has been mentioned already, in this chapter, that only 
in his Malakia (cephalopods) did he find, among his Anaima, 
anything corresponding with a brain. His knowledge of 
the cephalopods was extensive and he is quite right in his 
statement about the brain of these animals, which have a 
part of their nervous system concentrated into a mass 
protected by a cartilaginous case, the whole appearing like 
a rudimentary brain and skull. The cartilaginous case is 
referred to by him m H. A. iv. c. 1, s, 9. 

H. — The Senses and Sensoey Organs, 

Aristotle argues that there are not more than five senses, 
viz., sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, and says that 
some animals have all these but others have only some of 
them, among those which have all the senses being Man 
and viviparous animals with blood, with some possible 
exceptions, such as, for example, the Aspalax or mole,* 

He distinguished between sight, hearing, and smell, 
acting through some medium, e.g., air, between the subject 
and the object of sensation, and taste and touch, which are 
less dependent on the presence of such a medium. It will 
be convenient, in discussing his views, to deal with touch and 
taste first, and then smell, hearing, and sight. 

According to Aristotle, touch is the primary sense, 
apparently because it is present in all animals and enables 
us to appreciate differences in the elementary qualities of 
matter, such as solidity and temperature.! Although he 
considers it to be the primary sense, he discusses whether it 
is not several senses rather than one, being the least simple 
of the senses, for, unlike the eye, which distinguishes 
differences in colour, or the ear, which distinguishes differ- 
ences in tone, the tactile organ, whatever it may be, 
distinguishes differences in many qualities, and he suggests 
that, while sight and hearing seem to be distinct senses 
because their media are distinct, touch may be made up of 
several senses blended, as it were, in consequence of their 
having a common medium. I 

" Be Anima, iii. c. 1, 4246 and 425(t, ii. c. 2, 4136 and 414fi; H. A. 
iv. c. 8, 8, 1. 

f P, A. ii. c. 8, 65.36 ; De Anima, ii. c. 2, 4136, ii. c. 11, 4226, 
\ P. A. ii. c. 1, G47a; De Anima, ii. c, 11, 4226, 


He often discusses the question of the nature and position 
of the organ of touch, but nowhere does he seem to arrive at 
a definite conchision. Flesh or something analogous to it 
is, he says, the chief organ of touch, either in the same way 
as the eye is the organ of sight or else it corresponds with 
the eye together with some transparent medium,* He 
prefers to believe that touch does not act by direct contact, 
that the true organ of touch is not the flesh, but some- 
thing internal to this, and he instances what happens when 
the hand, covered by a stretched membrane, touches some 
object ; in this case, the object is felt, but the membrane is 
not, on that account, the organ of touch, but is merely a 
medium.! He also points out that, in other respects, there 
is not necessarily direct contact between the flesh and the 
object any more than there is contact between water and a 
body immersed therein, for a film of air may be between 
the water and the body.t 

According to Aristotle, the sense of touch is closely 
connected with the heart. § It has already been explained 
that he did not believe that the brain was the sensory centre, 
and that he had no knowledge of the functions of nerves. 
From the modern views on the dependence of sensations of 
touch on the presence of tactile organs beneath the skin and 
in communication with the central nervous system Aristotle's 
views were very far removed. 

Taste is, according to Aristotle, a kind of touch, for, 
like touch, it does not require the interposition of a medium 
such as is necessary between a coloured body and the eye. || 
He also considered the heart or the region of the heart to 
be the chief sensory organ both of taste and touch. II 

There is a close relationship, it is true, between taste 
and touch, which Aristotle could not have known. This 
relationship is that shown by the fact that the sensory 
nerves of the tongue are both gustatory and tactile. 

He says that while, in some animals, there are two eyes, 
two ears, and two nostrils symmetrically placed, this double 
nature of the sense organs is not evident in the case of touch, 
but is indicated in the case of taste, for some animals, e.g., 
snakes, lizards, and seals have a forked tongue.** 

* P. A. ii. c. 8, 6536. f De Anima, ii. c. 11, 423rt and b. | Ihid. 

§ De Sensii, dc, c. 2, 439rt ; P. A. ii. c. 10, 656rt. 

II P. A. ii. c. 10, 657a ; De Anima, ii. c. 10, 422a. 

II De Sensu, dc, c. 2, 439a ; P. A. ii. c. 10, 656a. 

*=!• P. A. ii. c. 10, 657a, ii. c. 17, 6606, iv. c. 11, 691a. 


It is well known that snakes and many lizards have 
forked tongues, and seals have a deeply notched tongue. 

The sense of taste, he says, is in the tip of the tongue, 
for if anything is placed on the flat part of the tongue, the 
sense of taste is not so delicate.* 

This statement needs to be modified. The sense of 
taste, as far as the tongue is concerned, is developed most 
in the upper part of the back of the tongue, and in its tip 
and marginal parts. The middle part of the tongue is but 
slightly sensitive, and this may be readily proved by placing 
a little salt, chamomile infusion, or sugar thereon. 

He states that the tongue of the lynx (wryneck) is 
peculiar, being like that of snakes, for its length, when 
extended, is equal to four fingers' breadth, t Except that 
the tongue of the wryneck is not forked, but vermiform, 
these statements are correct. 

He believed that birds with the broadest tongues could 
talk. I Birds of prey, he says, generally have broad tongues, 
and so has the PsittaJce (parrot), an Indian bird, which is 
said to have a tongue like that of a man.§ 

He makes inconsistent statements about the tongue of 
the crocodile. In P. ^. iv. c. 11, 6906, he seems to say that 
it has no tongue, but, in P. A. ii, c. 17, 6606, he admits the 
presence of a tongue adherent to the lower jaw. This 
statement is correct, for the crocodile has a large tongue 
attached to the floor of the mouth in such a way that it 
cannot be protruded but only raised. 

The tongue of the chamaeleon is very peculiar, being 
very long, extensible, and clubbed at the free end, but, 
strange to say, Aristotle says nothing about this, although 
he knew this animal very well indeed. 

He says that fishes have a sense of taste, for many of 
them delight in particular kinds of food, but that the 
tongue of fishes is indistinct, being bony and adherent 
to the mouth. II 

It is not clear why Aristotle makes so little of the tongue 
in fishes. The tongue is very conspicuous in many fishes, 
e.g., the conger and bass, with which he was very well ac- 
quainted. In one bass, a 4-lb. fish, I found that the 
free part of the tongue was wide and thick, and nearly an 
inch long. 

* H. A. i. e. 9, s. 6. f Ibid. ii. c. 8, s. 2. 

I P. A. ii. c. 17, 660a. 5 H. A. viii. c. 14, s. 6. 

II H. A. iv. c. 8, s. 4 ; P. A. iv. c. 11,6906. 


He says that the Kyprinos (carp) has its palate so fleshy 
that it might be mistaken for a tongue.* He is referring to 
the fleshy and sensitive pad which is found at the back part 
of the palate of this fish. 

He refers to what he calls the tongue or tongue-like part 
of cephalopods, molluscs, crustaceans, insects, and other 
invertebrates, t but it is not always clear to what parts he 
is referring. In some cases, he evidently refers to the 
odontophore in molluscs, and the proboscis in insects. 

The olfactory organ in animals with lungs was, according 
to Aristotle, the nose, but, in animals without lungs, the 
place of this was taken by the gills, or, in insects, by the 
hypozoma, or part of the body between the thorax and 
abdomen. I All these organs corresponded with one another 
in being cooling organs, and, since the nose was clearly an 
organ of smell, Aristotle probably reasoned by analogy and 
concluded that the gills and hypozoma were also organs of 

Fishes, he says, clearly have a sense of smell, for most 
fishes are attracted by fresh baits only, and some are taken 
by means of baits having a particular smell. § They have, 
he says, no visible organs of smell nor visible olfactory 
passages. II He refers, however, to certain ducts which 
appeared to be in the place of nostrils ;^ these ducts are 
now known to be the external olfactory passages of fishes, 
but Aristotle misunderstood their nature. 

Cephalopods, crustaceans, and insects and other animals 
belonging to his Entoma have, he states correctly, a sense of 
smell, and he specially refers to the keenness of the sense of 
smell in bees.** 

Aristotle's views on the manner in which the presence 
of an odoriferous substance is detected are not clearly ex- 
pressed. It appears, however, particularly from De Anima, 
ii. c. 7, 419a, that he believed that the odoriferous substance 
affected the medium, such as, for example, air or water, 
which then affected the sense organ, the medium having a 
property which had a relation to smell similar to that which 
Aristotle's Diaphanous had to vision. He himself says that 
this property has no distinctive name, but, according to 

- H. A. iv. c. 8, s. 4 ; P. A. ii. c. 17, 6606. 
f P. A. iv. c. 5 ; H. A. iv. cc. 1-5. 
J P. A. ii. c. 16, 6596. § H. A. iv. c. 8, ss. 11-13. 

II H. A. ii. c. 9, s. 6 ; P. A. ii. c. 10, 656a. 
'^ H. A. iv. c. 8, a. 5. -* Ihid. iv. c. 8, s. 15. 


Suidas, Tlieophrastus called it to ^loufxov, usually translated 
the transolfacient. In a somewhat similar way, Aristotle 
seems to have believed that air had a quality, to which 
he gave no distinctive name, enabling the air to transmit 
sound.* Theophrastus is said to have given to this quality 
the name to ^inx^i, usually translated the trans-sonant. 

By reference to some of the main structures of the ear, 
Aristotle gives a more practical explanation of the act of 
hearing. He says, in effect, that the motion of sound is com- 
municated through the air to the ear, the air acting like a 
body which is ctw£%£j, or made up of matter without any 
intervening spaces. The air then transmits its motion to 
the air enclosed within the coiled passage of the inner ear 
by the tympanum. t 

The ear is able to discriminate clearly different motions 
transmitted through the air, Aristotle says, because the air 
within it is normally at rest or nearly so.t In a similar 
way, he believed that the other sense organs were normally 
in what may be called a neutral or balanced condition 
(^£(TOT)75), with respect to the influences by which they were 
excited. § 

He does not say much about the anatomy of the ear. 
After confuting a strange belief of Alcmeeon that goats 
breathe through their ears, he says that the outer ear is 
formed of flesh and cartilage, that the internal ear is of coiled 
form, and that there is no duct from the ear to the brain, 
but one to the chamber of the mouth. || This seems to show 
that he was aware of the existence of what is now known as 
the Eustachian canal, afterwards rediscovered by Eustachius 
of Salerno (1500-74). 

He knew that dolphins, fishes, and many other aquatic 
animals could hear, but says that they had no evident 
organs of hearing.^ The existence of the internal ears of 
these animals seems to have escaped his notice (although 
he knew of the existence of otoliths in fishes), and nowhere 
does he explain the manner in which they heard. 

Aristotle says that some people, dwelling near the sea, 
asserted that fishes could hear better than other animals, 
and that those fishes which could hear best were the grey 
mullet, bass, and certain fishes called Chremps, Chromis, 

■■■■ De Anima, ii, c. 7, il'M. t Ibid. ii. c. 8, 4196 and 420a. 

I Ibid. ii. c. 8, 420a. § Ibid. ii. c. 11, 424a. 

il H. A. i. c. 9, s. 1. IT Ibid. iv. c. 8, ss. 5-9, ii. c. 9, s. 6, 


and Salpe* He refers to the otoliths in fishes, citing the 
Labrax (bass), Phagros (common pagre), Chromis, and 
Shiaina, and says that these fishes suffer most in winter, 
the otoHths having a cooHng effect on their heads, t 

His records of otoliths are interesting. The bass has 
ear-stones or otoliths which are elongated, hollowed, and 
waved or notched at their edges ; one from a 4-lb. bass 
I found to be five-eighths of an inch long. I do not know 
anything about the ear-stones of the pagre, but those of 
the ScicenidcB, to which Aristotle's Chromis and SJciaina 
probably belong, are remarkable for their large size (Cuvier 
and Valenciennes, Hist, des Poissons, vol. v. p. 8), and those 
of Plagioscion surinamensis, a freshwater sciaenid from 
British Guiana, are represented in The Zoologist, 1910, 
p. 293, and are both long and broad. 

Sight was, according to Aristotle, a sense of a particularly 
special or distinct nature. + His meaning is expressed in 
De Anima, ii. c. 6, 418a, where he says that some qualities 
of objects are perceived by certain senses only, and not by 
others, e.g., colour is the peculiar exciting cause of sight, and 
sound is that of hearing, but heat and cold, hardness and 
softness can be readily perceived by means of the tongue as 
well as the external skin. 

Sight, he says, is more important for the practical 
purposes of life, while hearing is of most use for training 
the mind.§ 

It seems strange, at first, that Aristotle should place 
hearing before sight for educational purposes, but there is 
much good reason for this, for, among the ancient Greeks, 
recitation, the cultivation of the memory, and the practice 
of music were of great educational value. To-day, the 
imperative necessity for repeatedly using the eyes for read- 
ing and writing and for making observations has caused 
the possession of sight to be more important than that of 
any other sense for educational purposes. 

Aristotle's views on light and colour have been discussed 
already in Chapter iv. It is there explained that he believed 
that air, water, and all other bodies, in a greater or less 
degree, have a something or quality which he called the 
Diaphanous. He had no knowledge of the functions of 
the optic nerves, but considered that colour caused move- 

" H. A. iv. c. 8, s. 10. \ Ibid. viii. c. 20, s. 5. 

I De Anima, iii. c. 3, 429a. § De Sensu, rfc, c. 1, 437a. 


ments in the medium, e.g., air or water, which acted on 
the eye by the agency of the Diaphanous.* He beheved 
that the eye was of ivater, a proof being that water ran 
from it, when ruptured, but he did not beheve that the eye 
was capable of sight because of this presence of water, 
except in so far as it was transparent. In this respect, air 
would have been as efficient, but Aristotle believed that the 
eye was of ivater because this is less yielding, and is also 
more easily confined than air.t 

Aristotle knew very little of the anatomy of the eye, 
beyond certain parts which were evident on cursory ex- 
amination, viz., the pupil, the iris, the white sclerotic, the 
aqueous or the vitreous humour, or both, and the nictitating 
membrane of some animals. 

All viviparous animals, he says, except the Aspalax 
(mole), have eyes, for the Aspalax does not see at all, nor 
does it possess eyes which are plainly visible, but, when the 
skin is removed, the places for the eyes are seen, and the 
" irises " occupy the exact positions naturally belonging to 
the eyes, as seen from outside, the appearance being just as 
if the eyes had been injured during their development, and 
the skin had grown over them.t 

In many other passages Aristotle refers to the blindness 
of the Aspalax. This was probably the common mole 
{Talpa europea), but some have tried to identify it with the 
so-called blind mole (T. cccca), which Dobson describes as a 
distinct species, characterized chiefly by the presence of 
membranes over its eyes,§ while Camerano considers it to 
be merely a variety of the common mole. |1 

Whichever view is correct, it is certain that skins of the 
so-called blind moles are not readily distinguishable from 
those of the common moles, and Mr. Oldfield Thomas has 
assured me that not all blind moles have membranes over 
their eyes. 

When Aristotle refers to the covering of the eyes of 
Aspalax, he uses the word derma, which refers particularly 
to the skin of the body, and, inH. A. iv. c. 8, s. 2, he calls 
it the thick skin enveloping the animal's head. There is no 
suggestion that he refers to membranes covering the eyes. 

-•' De Anima, ii. c. 7, 419a ; De Sensu, dc, c. 3, 440a. 
f De Sensu, dc, c. 2, 438a. J H. A. i. c. 8, s. 3. 

§ Monogr. of the Insectivora, Part 2, 1883, p. 139. 
II Meyn. della Eeale Accad. delle Sci, di Torino, 2nd series, vol. 37, 
1886, pp. 445, 446. 


This being so, it seems that the common mole, with its 
small, jet-black eyes, in which no iris or sclerotic can be 
seen, furnishes the best identification of the Aspalax. The 
fact that its eyes can be seen through very small holes in 
its skin, when the hairs surrounding them have been blown 
aside, probably escaped Aristotle's notice. 

In connection with his statement about the eyes of 
Aspalax being, as it were, injured during their development, 
it may be stated that Mr. K. J. Lee says that the mole has, 
at birth, eyes of a considerable degree of perfection, showing 
an iris, white sclerotic, lens, and optic nerve, but that, as 
the animal grows, it is deprived of the means of sight in 
consequence of certain changes at the base of the skull.* 

From very early times, a belief in the total blindness of 
the mole has been very persistent, ^sop, Aristotle, Cicero, 
Virgil, Seneca, Pliny, Oppian of Syria, and several other 
ancient authors refer to its blindness. Galen, however, 
believed that the mole had a feeble sight. At a much later 
time, Gesner, apparently following Albertus, says that there 
is nothing wonderful in the mole being without eyes, for it 
hunts worms in the earth, where eyes would be useless, and 
yet it perceives, in some way, whether it is below or above 
ground.! Aldrovandi says: — "I shall follow Scahger's 
opinion, who attributes very weak sight to the moles, . . . 
not in order to see under ground, but only to avoid the 
light."! Finally, Owen asserted that, in the common mole 
and especially in the blind mole, the eye is reduced to its 
simple primitive office of taking cognizance of light, a filament 
of the fifth nerve aiding a remnant of a proper optic nerve. § 

A belief in the total blindness of the mole is not un- 
common in this country, and Mr. G. C. Zervos, writing 
from Calymnos, informs me that modern Greeks consider 
the mole to be blind. 

All classes of animals, Aristotle says, except his Ostraho- 
derma and some other animals without blood, have eyes.H 
He says, however, that solens try to escape downwards, when 
they see anything pushed towards them, and that pectens 
close their shells when anyone thrusts a finger near them, just 
as if they could see.l' In many passages he mentions the eyes 

- Proc. Hoy. Soc. vol. 18, 1870, pp. 326, 327. 

f Hist. Anim. i. 1551, p. 105G. 

\ De Quadr. Digitat. Viviparis, dc, 1637, p. 452. 

§ Anat. Vertehr. vol. iii. 1868, p. 246. 

II H. A. i. c. 8, 8. 3. H Ibid. iv. c. 8, s. 18. 


of cephalopods, crustaceans, and his Entoma, and he evidently 
suspected the existence of visual organs in solens and pectens. 

Kespecting the sense organs in general, it may be said 
that there are many passages difficult to understand, and 
sometimes inconsistent, in Aristotle's v^orks. A discussion 
of one series of such passages will conclude this chapter. 

He says that philosophers of his time tried to assign to 
each sense organ one, and only one, of the elements, but that, 
since there are five senses they found some difficulty in 
assigning the four elements to them.* He does not seem 
to adopt this view of the sense organs, but in many passages 
of his works he attempts to assign one or more of the sense 
organs to certain elements. In De Sensu, &c., c. 2, 4386, 
e.g., he assigns vision to ivater, hearing to air, and smell to 
fire, and, in De Anima, iii. c. 1, 425a., he assigns vision and 
hearing to water and air, respectively, smell to either, and 
suggests that all the senses may be assigned to fire, and 
touch to earth. The chief sensory organ of touch being, 
according to Aristotle, the heart or region of the heart, 
which is the centre of heat, this attempt, in De Anima, 
iii. c. 1, 425a, to assign the senses to the elements is difficult 
to understand. Some commentators consider the passage 
cited above from the De Anima to be corrupt. 

* De Sensu, rfc, c. 2, 437rt. 


Numerous passages relating to animal motion are to 
be found in several of Aristotle's works, especially his 
Progressive Motion of Animals, History of Animals, and 
Parts of Animals. In these passages, many of which are 
mere repetitions, he gives interesting information about the 
locomotory parts and their movements, in walking, creeping, 
flying, and swimming. His views on the causes of these 
movements are, however, very incompletely expressed. 

According to him, every animal with feet has an even 
number of these, and fishes either have no fins at all or two 
or four fins, for he takes no account of fins other than the 
pectoral and pelvic* 

The number four seems to have had a special significance 
in connection with his ideas about animals. He says that 
they are moved by four or more <")/*£?«, those with blood by 
four only, and those without blood by more than four.t It 
was sufficient, in fact, to count the oriixtia, whether fins or 
other paired means of locomotion, to decide whether an 
animal had or had not blood, e. g., speaking of fishes, he 
says that they cannot have more than four fins, for if they 
had they would necessarily be animals without blood. | 

The word oinixziov (semeion), which means a sign or token 
by which anything is known, is used in a special sense by 
Aristotle to indicate the organs or means by the aid of 
which animals moved from place to place. According to him, 
legs, arms, wings, paired fins, and even the bendings of the 
body of a grass-snake, eel, or caterpillar, when in progressive 
motion, were semeia. 

Keferring to the way in which they move, he says that 
animals, whether they have four or more feet, move in the 
same way, for their feet move in diagonal succession, but 

^1= U.A. i.e. 5, ss. 1 and 2. 

f H. ^. i. c. 5, ss. 6 and 7 ; De Anim, Incessu, c. 10. 

I P. A. iv. c. 13, 696a.. 


the lion and both camels, Arabian and Bactrian, amble so 
that the right foot does not go in front of the left, but 
follows it.* The phrase used by him to denote movement 
in diagonal succession is tara ^nxf^eTpov (kata diametron) , and 
is fully explained in his De Anim. Incessu, c. 14, where he 
says that the left hind limb is moved after the right front 
limb, then the left front limb, and, finally, the right hind 
limb. The camel ambles by moving the right feet and the 
left feet alternately, the right front and hind feet striking 
the ground simultaneously, or nearly so, and then the left 
feet. The peculiarly unpleasant feeling experienced when 
riding a camel is due to this mode of progression. In the 
giraffe also the amble is particularly well seen, and it is 
sometimes seen in the horse, lion, and many other animals. 
The statement that the right foot does not go before the left, 
but follows it, is not clear. Pliny's translation, in Nat. 
Hist., xi. 105, makes the left foot follow the right, and has 
been adopted by many commentators. Considering the nature 
of the amble, neither the right nor the left limbs can be pro- 
perly said to follow the others. There is not sufficient reason 
for assuming that the Greek text has been tampered with, 
but it seems to be intended to distinguish between progression 
Kara, ^lauerpov, in which the traces of the right feet often cross 
those of the left, and the amble, called by Aristotle taTo. axej^og, 
or leg by leg, in which the right pair of limbs and the left 
pair of limbs swing past each other without crossing. 

Aristotle knew that some relationship existed between 
the arms of Man, the forelegs of quadrupeds, the wings of 
birds, and the pectoral fins of fishes, which are known to be 
homologous. His views on this relationship will be con- 
sidered further in Chapter xv. 

Among the numerous statements made by him about 
the locomotory parts and the movements of progression of 
particular animals or groups of animals, the most important 
are those relating to the elephant, camel, birds, fishes, 
cephalopods, and crustaceans. Some of these statements 
will be discussed next. 

Aristotle says : " Animals have the joints of their limbs, 
anterior and posterior, turned oppositely to one another, 
and, with the exception of the elephant, oppositely to those 
of Man, for, in viviparous quadrupeds, except the elephant, 
the front legs are bent forwards and the hind legs back- 

* H. A. i. c. 5, s. 7, ii. c. 1, s. 8. 


wards, and therefore they have the hollows of their joints 
turned towards each other. The elephant is not formed in 
the way some have said, but sits down and bends its legs, 
only it cannot bend them on both sides simultaneously, 
because of its weight, but sinks down on its right or left 
side, and sleeps in this position. The elephant bends its 
hind legs, just like Man."* 

Aristotle's comparison between the limbs of Man and 
the elephant and those of other animals was based on an 
examination of their external appearance. Viewed in this 
way, the real structure of their limbs may be easily mis- 
understood. The elephant has long femoral and humeral 
bones, very highly inclined, and its knee-joints consequently 
come low down and are not hidden in any way. Its limbs 
are, therefore, more easily comparable with those of Man, 
and the similarity is seen at once. On the other hand, the 
comparatively short length and usually small inclination of 
the femoral and humeral bones of the horse and many other 
animals cause the knee-joints to come close to the body, and 
even to be partly hidden within its skin, while the joints 
between the radius and tibia and the corresponding cannon 
bones are very conspicuous, and may be easily taken for the 

Although Aristotle says, in the passage cited above, that 
elephants bend their legs and sit or lie down, he asserts, in 
P. A. ii. c. 16, 659a, that their forelegs are mere supports 
and are useless for anything else, because of their slowness 
and small adaptability for bending. He distinctly states 
elsewhere that the old opinion about the elephant having no 
joints in its legs is not true, and that this animal walks in 
consequence of a bending at the hips and shoulders.! 
Evidently he was not altogether free from the old opinion 
which, strange to say, persisted until comparatively recent 

According to Aristotle, the elephant cannot swim, but, 
when crossing rivers, walks through the water as long as 
the tip of its trunk is above it. t This is not quite correct. 
The elephant can swim, and does so with probably less 
relative immersion than other quadrupeds. Sir J. Emerson 
Tennent says, however, that an elephant " generally prefers 
to sink till no part of his huge body is visible, except the tip 
of his trunk, through which he breathes, moving beneath the 

=■= H. A. ii. c. 1, s. 4. f De Anim. Incessu, c. 9. 

+ H. A. ix. c. 33. 


surface, and only now and then raising his head to look that 
he is keeping the proper direction."* 

The camel, Aristotle says, has one knee in each leg and 
not more, as some say, but it seems to have more because 
its abdomen is girded or drawn up.t Aristotle seems to be 
referring to a passage in Herodotus (iii. 103), where it is 
stated that the camel has four knees in its hind legs. The 
apparent presence of more than one knee in each leg is due 
partly to the great length and high inclination of the 
femoral bones, and partly to the great length of the cannon 
bones, thus causing the knee and tarsal joints to be very 
conspicuous. Aristotle does not appear to have been de- 
ceived by these structural features ; he states distinctly that 
there is only one knee in each leg. The phrase rendered by 
the words " because its abdomen is girded or drawn up " is, 
in Schneider's Greek text, 5l« tw 'Jirajraa-iv riis xoihla<;^ and this 
agrees with the texts of the Royal Prussian Academy, 
Camus, Syllburg, and Aldus Manutius. The word uTrojTaat^ 
primarily means a sediment, and also a prop or support. 
Several commentators, having concluded that the word does 
not express Aristotle's meaning very well, have proposed 
alterations of the text, and both Schneider and Wiegmann 
were in favour of substituting w^roWa^o-tf, a tightening up or 
contraction. The word uTroaraan is used in an obscure sense, 
but the meaning of the passage is clear, and is forcibly 
brought to the mind of anyone who looks at a living camel, 
with its tightly drawn up abdomen and long legs. 

The difficulties of the passage just discussed are small 
compared with those of the first part of the one in which 
Aristotle attempts to describe the structure of the cloven 
foot of a camel. This passage, inH. A. ii. c. 2, s. 6, presents 
such difficulties that, in their interpretation of it, scarcely 
any two translators agree. Part of the passage is as 

follows : — £* jW£v Tou OTTtT^sv fiiKpov £(j%j(7Ta/ f/.EXpi T>i; d'suTsoag xafx'nrjg 
ruv da'HTuXav, to 3" s/x7ipo(y^£V ectx^'^toci fMixpov oaov axp' TJJj TrpcoTJi? Kafji.7iii<; 

ruv ^aKTvxm in^ a.x.pco TETTapa {" from the back it is divided a 
little as far as the second joint of the toes, but the front is 
divided a little just about as far as the first joint of the toes, 
four at the tip"). Even with respect to essential parts of the 
passage very different views have been expressed. Camus 
and J. Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire consider that it refers to 
divisions of the hind and front parts of the foot, Schneider 

- Nat. Hist, of Ceylon, 1861, p. 121. f H. A. ii. c. 2, s. 5. 


and Wiegmann prefer to believe that it refers to the 
divisions of the hind and front feet, and Sundevall des- 
pairingly asserts that the passage is inexplicable. 

The front feet of a living camel are decidedly larger than 
the hind feet, and there are some minor differences of form, 
but both are divided similarly. The back part of each foot is 
curved inwards a little, but is not cleft. It is probable, 
therefore, that Aristotle is describing the front parts of a 
camel's foot, and this is assumed in what follows. 

When the upper part of a camel's foot is compared with 
its sole, it is seen that the length of the parting between the 
toes, seen from above, is not less than twice that of the 
parting, as seen from below. The difference is due to the 
presence of the web, to which also Aristotle refers. Further, 
looking more closely upon the top of the foot, four parts of 
the cleft are seen, two on each side, caused by the 
prominence of the proximal phalanges, and especially of 
their distal ends ; this is better seen in some camels than in 
others. Making use of these features in interpreting 
Aristotle's description, it is probable that the words oVjcrSey 
and £At7r^o«7$£i/ respectively refer to the sole and the upper 
part of the foot, and the phrase ett' aKpoj TSTrapa to the two 
short parts of the toes, as seen on the sole, together with 
the two long parts, as seen from above. It is possible, 
but less likely, that the passage refers to the features of the 
cleft due to the aforesaid prominence of the proximal 

The rest of Aristotle's description of the structure of the 
feet of camels presents no important difficulty, and the sense 
of the entire description seems to be as follows : " The sole of 
the foot is cleft as far as the second joint of the toes, and 
the upper part is cleft about as far as the first joint, there 
being four parts at the front of the foot, and between the 
cleft parts is a web, as in geese. The lower part of the foot 
is fleshy, like the foot of the bear, and, therefore, during 
warlike operations, riders put coverings on their camel's 
feet, when these are sore."* 

Aristotle makes some interesting observations on the 
flight of birds and their so-called tail. He says that all 
birds which fly high have four toes,f that birds are without 
a tail but have an orrhopygion, the long-legged and the 
web-footed birds having a short one and the others a long 

- H. A. ii. c. 2, s. 6, f Ibid. ii. c. 8, s. 2. 


one, and that these hold their feet close to their bodies, 
during flight, while the long-legged and web-footed birds 
keep them stretched out.* 

Most of these statements are subject to some exceptions. 
Among birds which Aristotle probably knew some have only 
three toes, yet they often fly high, e. g., bustards and golden 
and some other plovers. Again, the sparrow-hawk, gos- 
hawk, and harrier, among long-legged birds, and the 
tern and male pintail-duck, among web-footed birds, have 
comparatively long tails. Among birds with which 
Aristotle was probably not acquainted, there are still more 
striking exceptions, e. g., the secretary-vulture, the Brazilian 
seriema, the Tropic bird, and Buffon's skua. Further, I have 
observed that, when in full flight, pigeons, pheasants, black 
game, and many other birds, which have long or large tails 
as well as comparatively short legs, carry their feet stretched 
out backwards, and that some long-legged birds, such as the 
redshank and storm petrel, often hold their feet downwards. + 

It will be noticed that Aristotle gives to the so-called 
tail of a bird a special name, orrliopygion, which still 
survives in the modern anatomical name uropijgium. He 
was not the first to use the word, for Aristophanes had 
applied it to the abdominal extremity of a gnat,+ and of a 

On account of his idea that an animal with blood could 
not have more than four means of progression, he neglected 
all fins except the pectoral and pelvic, and accordingly he 
says that the gilt-head and bass have four, the eel and 
conger two, and the muraena none at all.|| He misunder- 
stood the nature of the fins of some cartilaginous fishes, e.g., 
the skate and sting ray, for he considered the large pectoral 
fins of these fishes to be lateral expansions or " flat parts," 
for use in swimming.^ 

The cephalopods, he says, swim backwards rapidly by 
means of their arms and fins, and the crustaceans by means 
of the hinder parts of their bodies.** He does not seem to 
take account of the importance of the jets of water expelled 
through the funnel, in the cephalopods, by means of which 
these animals propel themselves backwards. He states, 

■■• H. A. ii. c. 8, s. 4. 

f Lists of birds which carry their feet backwards and of some which 
carry them forwards are given in The Zoologist, 1903, pp. 146-9. 

I The Clouds, 158. § The Wasps, 1075. 

II H. A. i. c. 5, s. 2. «l Ibid. ** Ibid. i. c. 5, s. 3. 


however, mK. A. iv. c. 1, s. 6, that the octopus emits its 
ink and also sea- water through its funnel. 

He was aware that most of his Ostrahoderma move but 
slowly or are stationary, and that the pecten (Kteis) " flies" 
some distance along the surface of the water by its own 
efforts, and says that it is more capable of locomotion 
than any other.* He also says that the sea-urchin travels 
by using its spines as feet.t 

It has been stated already that Aristotle did not under- 
stand the nature of nerves, some of which he probably saw. 
It is interesting, therefore, to inquire by what means he 
considered the various locomotory and other movements of 
the body to be effected. Nowhere does he make this clear. 
He says that the heart is the centre of motion, that it is 
accordingly full of tendons, and that the motions of which 
it is the centre are effected by contraction and relaxation.! 
How the motions are transmitted from the heart to the 
moving parts he does not explain, but he often mentions the 
sinewy nature of the aorta, and especially its small branches, 
and, in H. A. iii. c. 6, he says that the fibres are intermediate 
between sinew and blood-vessel. He says, however, that 
there is a want of continuity in the arrangement of the 
sinews, § and this may be the reason why he abstained from 
attempting to explain the mechanism of animal motion, 
although he wrote a great deal about the motions themselves. 
An important passage on this subject is in the De Anim. 
Motione, c. 7, 701, one of the Aristotelian treatises which 
was probably not vv^ritten by Aristotle himself. In that 
passage it is stated that animals are moved by means of 
bones and sinews, the bones being like the wooden and iron 
frames of automata, and the sinews like cords by which the 
frames are set in motion. It is also stated that the parts of 
automata do not change in form and size, like the parts of 
an animal, in which this change is caused by heat and 
cold, which respectively effect expansion and relaxation 
under the influence of imagination, sensibility, and thought. 

=•'■ H. A. ix. c. 25, s. 7. f Ibid. iv. c. 5. s. G. 

\ P, A. ii. c. 1, 647a; iii. c. 4, CG66. § H. A. iii. c, 5, s. 1. 


Most of the important researches made by Aristotle on 
generation and development are described in his Generation 
of Animals, one of the most remarkable works ever written, 
and the one most entitling him to be included amongst 
the greatest thinkers of all time. Even those who have 
minimized the value of his labours and have criticized his 
works adversely have often been forced to comment favour- 
ably on many parts of his Generation of Animals. His 
History of Animals, which rivals his Generation of Animals 
in greatness, is remarkable for the vast amount of information 
which it contains, but the Ge?ieration of Animals astonishes 
the reader by its deep, philosophical reasoning, and furnishes 
evidence of a powerful intellect grappling with obscure 
embryological problems. 

In his Generation of Animals, he proposes some abstruse 
questions, and attempts to solve them in a way which is 
masterly, considering the slender means of investigation at 
his disposal. Some of these questions had been considered 
before his time, but not efficiently. Aristotle also did a 
great deal of original work (considered already in Chapter 
xi.) on the generative organs ; nothing, he says, had been 
previously determined about these.* 

He discusses an opinion, held by some philosophers and 
based mainly on the observed similarity between young 
animals and their parents, that the sperm {oTrep/xa) was 
derived from all parts of the body.t He rejects this opinion, 
and, in G. A. i. c. 18, adduces arguments against it, of which 
the following are the most important : — 

(1) Children have nails, hair, &c., no part of which could, 
he believed, be derived from the parents. 

(2) Children often resemble grand-parents or other 
ancestors, from whom he believed they could not derive 
anything, e.g., a daughter of an ^Ethiopian and a woman of 
Elis was not black, but the son of this daughter was. 

* G. A. i. c. 1, 115a. f Ibid. i. c. 17, 7216 


(3) From butterflies and some other animals, sJcolekes 
or larvae are produced, and these are not like the parents. 

(4) Animals which are not deformed may be generated 
by deformed parents. 

For reasons such as these he concluded that the sperm 
was not derived from all parts of the parents. He says that 
it is more fitting that it should be produced from homoeo- 
meria, these being anterior to and forming the anhomcBomeria.* 
Proceeding then to a more definite conclusion, he says that 
the sperm is a part of the superfluous matter of the blood, 
or something analogous to it.t He does not, however, 
clearly express his views about the nature of this superfluous 
matter and its mode of separation, but his meaning, ex- 
pressed chiefly in G. A. i. c. 19, 7266, seems to be that, after 
some parts of the blood have been disposed of as nutritive 
or formative material for the flesh and other parts of the 
body, there remain a part which is the last to be supplied to 
the parts of the body and a residual or superfluous part, 
which is of a very useful nature and has great power (Jwa/zi?). 
This constitutes the sperm, and since it is like the part, 
referred to above, which is the last to be supplied to the 
parts of the body, it is reasonable that it should be capable 
of forming parts similar to these, i.e., similar to the parts of 
the parents. The sperm, in fact, has potentially in itself 
each of the parts of the body. It will be noticed that this 
view bears some resemblance to the evolution theory elab- 
orated by Bonnet and others, but differs therefrom in the 
way in which the parts were supposed to exist in the sperm, 
for, according to the evolution theory, the parts actually 
existed in miniature in the sperm. 

Aristotle also discusses, at great length, the nature of 
the material, if any, contributed by the male and the female. 
He concludes that the female contributes the material of 
the embryo, and that such material is derived from the 
catamenia. He seems to have believed that the material 
contributed by the female was passive formative material.! 
The essential generative agency, he believed, was contributed 
by the male, but it was not necessary for anything material to 
pass from the male to the embryo, for the male contributed 
not matter but form and motive principle. § So fully did he 
believe this that he seems to have had no misgiving about 

* G. A. i. c. 18, 722a. f Ibid. i. c. 18, 125a and 726a. 

I Ibid. i. c. 20, 729a. § Ibid. i. c. 20, 729a, i. c. 21, 7296. 


the possibility of hen partridges being impregnated by the 
breath of the cock.* This was an old popular belief. 

In G. ^. i. c. 21, 7296, he illustrates his views by saying 
that what the female contributes to the embryo is like the 
wood which is formed into a couch by the carpenter's art, 
or like the material of a sphere of wax, the form due to the 
art of the carpenter, in one case, or of the modeller, in the 
other, being comparable with the influence contributed by 
the male, 

Aristotle's reasoning on these questions is philosophical 
and powerful, but without the aid of the microscope such 
questions could not be solved satisfactorily. The ova con- 
tributed by the female are now known to be exceedingly 
complex in structure, and not to be composed of merely 
passive formative material. Again, considering the nature 
of the catamenia and the fact that, in H. A. vii. c. 2, and in 
other passages, he shows that he understood the purifying 
nature of them, it is difficult to understand why he should 
have considered them to represent, in the female, the sperm 
of the male. There seems to be no doubt about this opinion, 
and he attempts to explain that the catamenial fluid is a 
sperm which has not been fully elaborated.! 

It is well known by embryologists that, until the re- 
searches of Weissmann and others, the theory of epigenesis 
was generally held to be true. This theory was foreshadowed 
by Aristotle, and elaborated by Harvey, Wolff, and Blumen- 
bach. According to this theory, the parts of the young 
animal are developed as new formations in the embryo, and, 
in contradistinction to the old evolution theory, do not exist 
as pre-formed parts in miniature, either in the spermatozoon 
or in the ovum. Aristotle's views are set out, inG. A. ii. c. 1, 
in such a way as to show that he was not quite free from 
a belief in the existence of pre-formed parts. He seems to 
have believed that the germ contained some kind of vital 
principle, and was so constituted that, the vital principle 
having started the process of development, this process 
went on, like an automaton, the parts of the young 
animal being produced one after another, in the way sug- 
gested in the so-called verses of Orpheus, in which it is 
stated that the parts are formed in succession, like the knots 
of a net. The heart, having in itself a source of increase, 
was generated first, according to Aristotle, and then other 

- H, A. vi. c. 2, s. 9. f G. A. iv. c. 5, 774rt. 


parts, such as, for example, the Hver, lungs, and eyes, were 
produced from it, just as a man is produced from a child, 
but not by the child. 

Further, he says that the young animal is not at once a 
horse or a man, but that its life is at first like that of a 
plant, and that the characteristics of each kind of animal are 
the last to be developed.* This seems to foreshadow the 
modern theory that the history of the development of the 
individual is an epitome of the history of the evolution of 
the species. 

A most difficult question in embryology is that dealing 
with the causes determining the sex of the young animal. 
This question was discussed before Aristotle's time, and has 
been discussed until the present day. Anaxagoras believed 
that the distinction depended on the position of the sperm 
itself in the uterus, Empedocles that it depended on the 
temperature of the uterus, a hotter uterus bringing forth a 
male and a colder one a female, and Democritus believed that 
the distinction depended on the preponderance, in some way, 
of one or other of the sperms, male and female. Aristotle 
was inclined to adopt a view similar to that of Democritus, 
and seemed to regard the action between the sperms to be of 
the nature of a contest, the sex of the young animal corre- 
sponding with that of the sperm which overpowered the 
other, t As late as the year 1898, a theory of this kind was 
set forth by Dr. Leopold Schenk, of Vienna. I Generally 
speaking, this theory was the opposite of Aristotle's, for 
Schenk's view was that the tendency was for offspring to 
take the sex opposite to that of the more vigorous parent. 

Aristotle's statements about spontaneous generation have 
been discussed in Chapter v. It was easy for the Ancients 
to persuade themselves that spontaneous generation com- 
monly occurred, for they had no means of knowing that, in 
matter believed by them to be lifeless, there existed countless 
germs giving rise to numerous forms of life. Some even 
believed that the spontaneous generation of mankind was 
possible. Aristotle's views were less extravagant, but he 
believed that eels, many of his Entoma,^ and most of his 
Ostrakoderma,\\ were generated spontaneously. He says 
that eels had never been found with milt or roe, that, when 
opened, they did not seem to possess generative organs, and 

=■= G. A. ii. c. 3, 7366. f G. A. iv. c. 1. 

\ Schenk's Theory : The Determination of Sex, London, 1898. 

§ if. ^. V. c. 17, s. 2. II H. A. V. c. 13 ; G. A. iii. c. 11, 7016. 


that they seemed to be produced from the so-called entrails 
of the earth, apparently referring to certain worms formed 
spontaneously in mud and the like.* 

The mode of reproduction of eels was in question for 
many centuries, and although it had been known for some 
years that there was a clear distinction of sexes among eels, 
and that they passed from the rivers to the sea for breeding 
purposes, it was not until about the year 1896 that the mode 
of reproduction and development was fully ascertained. At 
that time, Prof. Grassi and Dr. Calandruccio ascertained that 
a fish, previously considered to be a distinct species, Lepto- 
cephalics hrevirostris, was a larval form of the common eel. 
This larval form, which is flat and transparent and has a very 
small head, passes through a series of metamorphoses into 
the elver or young eel. The elvers swim up the rivers in 
spring. Millions of them swim up the Severn, and have 
long been believed by people in Gloucestershire to be young 

The egg-cases of whelks and other molluscs were known 
to Aristotle,! but he was not disposed to believe that these 
animals were generated otherwise than spontaneously. 

The metamorphoses of some of his Entoma received 
much attention from Aristotle. According to him, all his 
Entoma produce skolekes,l or all, except certain Lepidoptera, 
which produce seed-like bodies containing fluid. § The 
passages relating to his sJcoleJces are too numerous to be 
given in full, but an epitome of the most important follows, 
so far as the difhcult nature of the subject permits. 

He appears to have been aware of the existence of the 
ova or eggs of some of his Entoma, especially certain butter- 
flies and moths, locusts and spiders, || but considered them 
to be, not eggs, but egg-like skolekes. The ova of many 
Entoma escaped his notice, but he was aware of the existence 
of their skolekes, and believed that these were the first 
products of generation. H The skolekes fed, grew rapidly, 
and underwent changes, more or less complex, until they 
passed into the pupa or chrysalis form.** 

The skolekes of the various kinds of Entoma are not 
treated by Aristotle in the same way. When dealing with 
those of bees, wasps, and the like, the larvae are called 

■■■• H. 15. I Ibid. v. c. 13. 

I G. A. ii. c. 1, 733a. § H. A. v. c. 17, s. 1. 

II Ibid. V. c. 17, ss. 1 and 4, v. c. 23; G. A. iii. c. 9, 7586. 
51 G. A. ii. c. 1, 73'db. *- H. A. v. c. 17, ss. 4-(3. 


sJcoleJces right up to the pupa stage ; * on the other hand, 
the skolekes of butterflies and moths are said to become 
hampai, or caterpillars, before they become pupae, t The 
apparently great difference between the caterpillars of 
butterflies and moths, and the maggots of bees, wasps, and 
flies, was probably the cause of this difference of treatment, 
but he considered both caterpillars and maggots to be 
skoleJces, finally passing into the " real eggs," or pupae. 

His views on this subject are set forth in fairly clear 
language. He states that Entoma bring forth skolekes at 
first, but these become egg-like in the course of their 
development, for the so-called chrysalis is functionally 
equivalent to an egg. I He also says: "For we must 
consider caterpillars to be a kind of skolex, and also the 
[generative products] of spiders, and yet it may seem that 
some of these and many others resemble eggs, because of 
their roundness, but they should not be defined by their 
form, nor their hardness and softness, but by their producing 
an animal as the result of a change of the whole and not a 
part. When they have completely attained the skolex form, 
and have become of full size, they are, as it were, eggs, for 
the skin hardens about them, and they become motionless 
at this time. This is evident in the skolekes of bees and 
wasps and in caterpillars. The reason for it is that, because 
of the imperfect nature of the animals, their 'eggs' are pro- 
duced, as it were, before their time, the skolex being, as it 
were, an egg which is still soft and in process of growth." § 

This is the most important passage on the skolex in all 
Aristotle's works. It shows clearly, in conjunction with 
the other passages cited, that his skolex is an immature 
product of generation, which grows and finally becomes a 
pupa, or, so Aristotle believed, an " egg," giving birth to the 
perfect animal. It differed from the egg of a bird, which 
has a hard shell and does not grow, the young bird being 
formed from a part only of the egg, the remainder serving 
as food.jl 

His discussion of the generation of bees is particularly 
interesting. He refers to the many different opinions which 
had been given on the subject, and says that much uncer- 
tainty existed about the mode of generation of bees. He 

* H. A. V. c. 17, s. 5, V. c. 20, s. 1. f Ibid. v. c. 17, ss. 4 and 6. 
I G. A. ii. c. 1, 7336. § Ibid. in. c. 9, 7586. 

II H. A. i. c. 4, s! 1. 


seems to think that a kind of hermaphroditism occurs among 
the workers, and finally decides that the rulers or kings 
(queens) generate both themselves and the workers, that 
these generate the drones, and that these generate nothing, 
but are idle, while the queens remain in the hives free from 
all unnecessary labour.* 

It is now known that the queen of a hive generates 
queens, workers, and drones, the workers being normally 
barren females, and the drones males ; parthenogenesis 
sometimes occurs. The production of a queen from a 
fertilized egg depends on the supply of a superior quality 
of food, called " royal jelly," to the hatched-out larva, 
and this feeding is arranged by those bees which act 
as nurses. It is sufficient for the queen to be impreg- 
nated once only by a drone, for the purpose of depositing 
vast numbers of fertilized eggs. 

Aristotle very clearly suggested the possibility of herm- 
aphroditism, and was inclined to believe that it was found 
in some fishes. He says that if there exists a class of 
animals which includes females but not separate males, then 
it is likely that such animals generate from themselves, and 
that, although up till his time such a question had not been 
investigated sufficiently to justify a belief, there was some 
probability that hermaphroditism occurred among some 
fishes. No males had been seen, he adds, among the 
Erytlirinoi, but the females were full of embryos ; he had 
not, he says, found out anything very trustworthy about 
this.! It seems that he also believed that the fishes called 
by him Psetta and Channe were hermaphrodite. I 

The researches of Cavolini, Cuvier, and others have 
proved that hermaphroditism occurs regularly in Serranus 
scriba, S. cahrilla, and other species of Serranus, and that it 
occurs in some perches, carp, mackerel, herrings, soles, 
whiting, and other fishes. Aristotle's Erythrinos, Channe, 
and Psetta have not been satisfactorily identified, but Cuvier 
believed that Erythrinos was S. scriba and Channe was 
S. cabrilla.^ 

A remarkable discovery of modern times is the common 
occurrence, in Aphis, Cypris, and many other forms of life 
which multiply with very great rapidity, of parthenogenetic 

- G. A. iii. c. 10, 7596 and 760a. f Ibid, ii, c. 5, 741a. 

I H. A. iv. c. 11, s. 4, vi. c, 12, s. 1. 

S Cuvier and Valenciennes, Hist. Nat. des Poissons, Paris, 1828-49, 
vol. vi. pp. 179-80. 


females. Aristotle says nothing about such a phenomenon 
in animals such as those mentioned, but, strange to say, 
he seems to have believed in the occurrence of a kind 
of parthenogenesis in mice, for he says that, in some part 
of Persia, pregnant females are found in the uterus.* 
This seems to have been a version of a folk-tale to account 
for the reports current among the Ancients about the 
amazing rate of increase in the numbers of mice. 

The embryonic development of young animals is dis- 
cussed chiefly in G. ^. ii. c. 6, on animals in general, and in 
H. A. vi. c, 3, on birds. Aristotle also commences H. A. vii, 
with the intention of describing the development of Man, 
from the earliest stages of the embryo to old age, but that 
book is incomplete and contains very little about the subject 
of development. The so-called Tenth Book of Aristotle's 
H. A. was believed to be a continuation of Book vii., but 
it is now admitted that Aristotle did not write it, and, 
further, on the subject of development it contains nothing 
of interest. 

The following is a statement of what appear to have 
been Aristotle's views, as set out in G. A. ii. c. 6, on 
embryonic development : — The upper or anterior parts of 
the body are generated first, and, except in the Entoma, are 
proportionally larger than the other parts, the head and eyes 
being especially large. The larger organs may be seen 
before the smaller ones, although not necessarily developed 
before them. In animals with blood, the heart is produced 
first and blood-vessels extend from it. Then, in order to 
moderate the heat of the heart, the brain is next formed 
and also the other parts of the head. The purest parts of 
the blood pass from the blood-vessels, like water oozing 
through vessels of partially baked earthenware, and cause 
the formation of flesh and the main parts of the sense 
organs. The skin of the body is formed by the drying of 
the superficial parts of the flesh. From the less pure or 
more earthy parts of the blood are formed the more earthy 
parts of the body, e. g., bones, sinews, nails, horns, hoofs, 
and hair, which are the later formed parts. All the bones 
are formed in the foetus, and no bones are produced later. 
About the formation of the eyes there is some uncertainty, 
he says, but their development is completed at a very late 
stage. The formation of the bones and sinews is due to the 

- H. A. vi. 0. 80, 8. 3. 


abstraction of moisture from the less pure parts of the 
blood, by means of the internal heat. 

Many of these views are incorrect, but they are evidently 
based on actual dissection or inspection of embryos in one 
or more animals. It M^ill be sufficient, however, to state 
that the cerebro-spinal axis is one of the first parts to be 
laid down, and that the parts of the body are not developed 
in succession in the way Aristotle seems to have believed. 
Many parts, e. g., the flesh, bones (first laid down as 
cartilages), sinews, skin, sensory organs, heart, alimentary 
canal, and liver, are in process of development simultaneous- 
ly. He knew nothing about the formation of membrane 
bones or the process of ossification of cartilages. It is quite 
true that, as Aristotle says, the eyes are completed at a late 
stage of embryonic development. 

His most interesting embryological research is that on 
the development of a chicken. This research alone entitles 
him to considerable credit as an original investigator. 
It is difficult to follow some parts of his description, in 
H. A. vi. c. 3, not only because of apparent defects in the 
Greek text, but also because Aristotle gives only a few 
definite statements about the times of incubation at which 
the appearances to which he refers were seen. 

One question on which Aristotle's opinion would be of 
interest relates to the position of the part of the egg in 
which development begins. His statements on this question 
are not as clear as could be wished, but it seems that he 
believed that the part referred to was in the pointed end of 
the egg. In a passage, the full meaning of which is not 
clear, he speaks of a movement of the yolk or a part of it 
towards the pointed end (o|y) of the egg, where, he says, is 
the beginning (a^x"^) of the egg.* 

He seems to have been misled by assuming that an egg 
issues from the parent in a manner different from the way 
in which a young mammal comes to light, for he says that 
the foot end, as it were, of the egg issues first, whereas the 
head or beginning (o^px^) of a young viviparous quadruped 
first comes to light, t He knew also that the broad end of 
the egg leads during the process of laying. + It was natural, 
therefore, for him to conclude that the pointed end was the 
beginning of the egg. His error will not appear to be 
extravagant if it is borne in mind that Hieron. Fabricius 

- H. A. vi. c. 3, s. 1. f O. A. iii. c. 2, 752&. 

I H. A. vi. c. 2, s. 2 G. A. iii. c. 2. 752a. 


believed that the germ spot or disc {cicatricula) was only a 
trace of the attachment of the yolk to the ovary, and that 
the chalazae constituted the material of the embryo, being 
the main cause of embryonic development {prcecipua causa 
pulli generationis) after having been impregnated,* and that 
Harvey seems to have believed that embryonic development 
began in the broad end of the egg.t 

Even to-day, many people believe that the chalazEe are 
what they call the " life " of the egg, and this represents to 
their minds the parts where development begins. 

Aristotle says that the first signs of development are 
noticeable after three days and nights, the heart being 
visible as a palpitating blood-spot whence, as it develops, 
two blood-vessels, which wind about, extend to the 
surrounding tunics, and a membrane with threads of blood 
encloses the whole, away from the aforesaid blood-vessels. 
A little later, he continues, the body of the embryo, quite 
small and white, is seen, the head being distinct and the 
eyes very prominent or conspicuous, while the lower parts 
of the embryo are not in proportion to the upper parts. 
One vessel from the heart leads to the enveloping membrane 
and the other to the yolk, after the manner of an umbilical 
cord. The development of the young bird, he says, com- 
mences from the white, and its nutriment is derived from 
the yolk, through what is equivalent to an umbilical cord. X 

Such is Aristotle's description of the development of a 
chick, from about the fourth day to about the eighth day, 
judging from the appearances he describes. It is now known 
that development of the embryo commences in the germinal 
spot or disc, situated on one side of the yolk. In consequence 
of the yolk opposite the germinal spot being denser than that 
on the side of the spot, this remains uppermost, however 
the egg may be rotated by the sitting hen, the yolk being 
steadied by the chalazae. During the early stages of develop- 
ment, the embryo is in process of being constricted off from 
the yolk, and a bulging is noticeable, although, on account 
of an apparent sinking in of the embryo, the bulging is only 
slight. The time at which signs of development are first 
seen by the unaided eye depends not only on the acuteness 
of vision of the observer, but also on the extent of his know- 
ledge of embryology, but it may be said that signs may be 

■■'• De Formatione Ovi et Pulli, Padua, 1625, pp. 24, 34, and 48. 
f Exercitat. de Gcner. Anim., 1680, p. 64. 
I H. A. vi. c. 3, ss. 1-3. 



seen on the second day, or about twenty-four hours earlier 
than Aristotle states. About the end of the second day, the 
rudimentary heart with the vitelline blood-vessels extending 
over the yolk sac are visible, and, on the third day, they 

FIG. 9. 


Allantoic Blood-vessels. 

Vitelline Blood-vessels. 

FIG. 10. 


become conspicuous. By this time the embryo is raised 
from the underlying substance of the yolk, being connected 
therewith merely by a short stalk. During the fourth day, 
the enclosure of the embryo by the coalescence of the head 
and tail folds of the amnierriDecomes complete. On the fifth 


day, the wings and legs are just recognizable as outgrowths, 
and the allantois, an embryonic sac destined to serve as a 
respiratory organ beneath the shell, begins to grow rapidly ; 
on the sixth day, the allantoic blood-vessels are clearly seen 
as well as the vitelline blood-vessels, while the embryo has 
greatly increased in size. The appearance is much the 
same on the seventh day, but the embryo is still larger, 
and the same may be said of the appearance on the eighth 
day, a noticeable feature being, however, the prominence 
and large size of the eyes. 

The above represents, without entering into details, the 
course of development up to and including the eighth day. 
It is evident that, although Aristotle's description, previously 
given, is not quite clear, he refers to the vitelline or yoke 
sac and the vitelline blood-vessels, and also to the allantois 
and the allantoic blood-vessels. Fig. 9 represents an egg 
with the shell carefully removed from part of one side to 
show the allantoic blood-vessels (in full lines,) and the 
vitelline blood-vessels (in broken lines), at the eighth day, 
which seems to correspond with the time of the latest stages 
in Aristotle's description, so far as it has been given above. 

He next describes the appearance observable on the 
tenth day, and his description shows that he made a very 
careful examination of the egg at this period of incuba- 

If the young chick be removed on the tenth day, and 
freed from the amnion and yolk sac, it will be seen to show 
an'"abnormally large head and large eyes, a short beak, and 
fairly well developed legs and wings, as shown in Fig. 10. 
By placing the young chick in water in a test tube and 
holding it towards the light, numerous feathers with their 
barbs and shafts can be seen by means of a lens. Aristotle 
says that, on the tenth day, the entire bird and its parts are 
distinct, its head being seen to be larger than the rest of its 
body, and its eyes larger than the rest of the head ; if re- 
moved, he says, its eyes will be found to be black. At a 
later stage, he proceeds to say, the chief viscera {i. e., the 
heart, liver, &c.) are visible, and also the gizzard and 
intestines, while the blood-vessels from the heart appear to 
extend to the yolk stalk. He also describes, in greater 
detail than before, the embryonic membranes, showing that 
he had examined the allantois, lying beneath the shell 
membrane, the yolk sac, and the amnion which, he says, is 


about the embryo itself, and separates it from the fluid.* 
He seems to mean that the embryo is separated from the 
remains of the white of the egg by the amnion ; it is not 
evident, from his description, that he was aware that the 
amnion encloses fluid which bathes the embryo. 

He next passes on to about the twentieth day, when the 
chick, he says, chirps when the egg is disturbed. The head 
of the chick, he says, is over the right leg, and its wing is 
over the head. This is sufficiently accurate to show that 
he carefully examined the position of the chick about the 
twentieth day, for, at that time, the beak may be seen 
pushed under the right wing, while the right claw rests 
almost against the head. He also refers to the allantois, be- 
neath the shell membrane, about the twentieth day, and again 
mentions the yolk sac. He compares them with the chorion, 
or foetal membrane, in mammals, and states correctly that 
the allantois falls away, while the yolk within the yolk sac 
is withdrawn into the body of the chick. 

Eeferring to the pigeon, Aristotle says that on the day 
before the young one is hatched, the egg is damaged or 
perforated,! but it is not clear whether he believed that the 
young one or the old ones did this. Albertus Magnus, who 
seems to be translating a version of the above passage, clearly 
states that the young pigeon breaks a piece out of the shell 
with its bill. His translation, given by Aldrovandi,! reads: 
" In fissura ovi primo Colmnba parvida in eo existens, pene- 
trat testam anteriore parte rostri sui, ita ut testa elevetur ad 
magnitudinem grani tritici, et piostea dlvidit earn in duas 
partes, et exit pullus.'' 

■'■ H. A. vi. c. 3, ss. 3-5. | H. A. vi. c. 4, s. 2. 

I Ornitholojia, vol. ii. 1610, Frankfurt, p. 184, first column. 


It is only by collating numerous passages scattered 
throughout his works that Aristotle's views on the classi- 
fication of animals can be ascertained. These passages 
show that he attempted to make a systematic classification, 
but that, even for the animals known to him, it was in- 
complete. Apart from this incompleteness, very different 
views have been held respecting the value of his classifi- 
cation. Ray, when treating of viviparous quadrupeds, 
showed his appreciation of it by adopting part of Aristotle's 
classification,* and both Cuvier and Owen, who believed 
that Aristotle made a systematic classification, more or less 
elaborate, spoke of it in highly appreciative terms. On the 
other hand, Agassiz and Whewell, while fully recognizing 
Aristotle's attempts to deal with the differences and re- 
semblances of various animals, held that he did not propose 
any regular classification. 

Aristotle certainly defined a few groups of animals, 
particularly the Ketode and Loplioura, in such a way that 
groups corresponding with them are to be found in modern 
systems of classification, but, in most cases, what appear to 
be his classificatory terms are not sufiiciently precise, while 
their use often causes the same animals to fall into more 
than one class, or brings into one class animals having no 
close natural affinities. Examples of these defects are well 
seen in the manner in which he deals with the dental 
characters of animals. Not only carnivores, for instance, 
but also reptiles and most fishes are included by him among 
his Garcharodonta, or animals with sharp, interlocking teeth, 
and the same animals, e.g., horses, are included both among 
his Anepallahta, or animals with teeth having flat crowns, 
and among his Ampliodonta, or animals with front teeth in 
both jaws. 

* Syn. Meth. Anim. Quadr. et Serp. Gen., 1693, pp. 56 et seq. 


Defects of this kind are to be found in many systems of 
classification formed long after Aristotle's time, and it is 
but fair to say that, considering the early period in which 
he lived, he had clear conceptions of some of the chief 
features of difference and similarity in animals, and that 
he set forth these features and employed terms some of 
which were certainly terms of classification. Further, 
several of his groups were based on a consideration of 
essential, and not arbitrary, characters of the animals com- 
posing them, and many causes of difference were taken into 
account, so that Aristotle may be fairly said to have at- 
tempted to form a natural system of classification. For 
these achievements, and they are considerable, he is entitled 
to have the credit. More than this, perhaps, cannot be 
claimed for him, yet the nature of his zoological writings 
has often led to attempts to do this. For, reading them in 
the light of modern zoological knowledge, it is easy to 
interpret his statements as evidence of an elaborate scheme 
of classification, and, when admiration for Aristotle is ex- 
cessive, as it was in Cuvier and Owen, it becomes natural to 
read into his words meanings which, probably, he himself 
never intended. 

In the development of a science, a desire to classify very 
soon shows itself, but, as Whewell has shown, the formation 
of a systematic classification follows naturally only after 
vast numbers of observations have been carefully made and 
compared. Therefore, such a classification is not to be ex- 
pected at a very early stage in the development of zoological 
knowledge, such as that in Aristotle's time. Yet he formed 
some general ideas of a classification based on a consideration 
of structure and mode of life, thus forming groups, such as his 
Ketode, Selache, Malakia, and Entoma, which could be more 
easily described in this way. In the performance of this 
task he made serious mistakes, but, as Whewell admits, 
he may justly be regarded as the great Figure in the pre- 
lude to that formation of Systems which took place in later 

Aristotle repeatedly uses two classificatory terms, ysvor 
igenos) and H^os {eidos), which are of very great importance, 
but, before setting out the meanings of these terms, it will 
be necessary to consider the meanings of the terms vTrepoxh 
{hyperoche), exxejvVjs- (elleipsis) , and avay^oyUt (analogia), which 
are of importance in his conceptions of y^vo^ and f?i5b,', 

Aristotle says that animals, such as birds, which have 



parts, feathers for instance, of the same kind, but differing 
in Injperoclie or elleipsis, should be put in the same ge?ws* 
He also says that hyperoche and elleipsis may be taken to 
mean the greater and the less, respectively.! 

Numerous passages show that the " greater " and the 
" less " should be interpreted in a wide sense. Differences 
in size and number, such as, for instance, in the lengths of 
birds' beaks, wings, and legs, the widths of their tongues, 
and the numbers of their feathers, t differences in hard- 
ness or softness, roughness or smoothness, of the parts of 
animals, § and the presence or absence of certain parts, such 
as crests or spurs, I are given as examples of excess and 
deficiency, or the greater and the less. 

According to Aristotle, the parts of some animals are not 
the same, nor do they differ merely in excess or deficiency, 
but in a different way according to an analogia or propor- 
tion. Such an analogia exists between hands and claws, 
nails and hoofs, and feathers and fish-scales, for, what a 
feather is in a bird, the same is a scale in a fish. IT Further, 
he says that animals which have a part merely analogous 
to a part in certain animals should be grouped separately 
from these, e.g., fishes should be grouped in one genos, and 
birds in another, because the scales of fishes have only an 
analogous resemblance to the feathers of birds.** 

Numerous passages in Aristotle's works show clearly 
that he was constantly mindful of the idea that there exist, 
in some animals, component parts which may be considered 
to take the place of certain parts in other animals. In 
addition to the examples already given, a relation of this 
kind is said to exist between the forefeet of quadrupeds and 
hands, tf between the brain of a vertebrate and the "brain" 
of an octopus, + 1 and between fish-bone and the cuttle-bone 
of Sepia or the pen of Loligo.^^ A consideration of these 
passages, with their contexts, justifies us in believing that 
Aristotle was the originator of the theory of analogies, and 
this is in accordance with his statement: — " By ' analogon ' 
is meant that, while some animals have a lung, others have 
something in place of it, and that some animals have blood, 

* H. A. i. c. 1, 8. 2 ; P. A. i. c. 4, 6Ua. f H. A. i. c. 1, s. 3. 

I H. A. i. c. 1, s. 3 ; P. A. i. c. 4, GUa, iv. c. 12, 692b. 
§ H. A. iv. c. 4, s. 6 ; P. A. i. c. 4, 6446. 

II H. A. i. c. 1, s. 3. ^I Ibid. i. c. 1, s. 4. 
** P. A. i. c. 4, 644a. f f H. A. ii. c. 1, s. 2. 
II P. A. ii. c. 7, 6526. §§ Ibid. ii. c. 8, 654a. 


but others have an ' analogon,' which has the same power, 
or function, as blood."* 

In Aristotle's idea of analogy, similarity of functions of 
the analogous parts is certainly included, but there is a 
passage, difficult to understand, which appears to introduce 
another factor, that of correspondence in the positions of 
certain parts of different animals; for, in P. A. iv. c. 5, 
6816, he says that it is evident, from the position of the 
so-called mytis of a cephalopod, that this part is the analogon 
of the heart of other animals. This is proved, he adds, by 
the sweetness of its contained liquid, which is of the nature of 
blood. It is probable that the mytis, to which he refers, 
was the liver. He also says, in H. A. i. c. 6, s. 2, that a 
scute corresponds in position with a scale, and, in numerous 
passages, he refers to a relationship between such parts as the 
arms of Man, the forelegs of quadrupeds, the wings of birds, 
and the pectoral fins of fishes, which are now known to be 
homologous parts. Agassiz says: — "Though Aristotle already 
knew that the scales of fishes correspond to the feathers of 
birds, it is but recently that anatomists have discovered the 
close correspondence which exists between all the parts of all 
animals belonging to the same type, however different they 
may appear at first sight. Not only is the wing of the bird 
identical in its structure with the arm of man or the fore- 
leg of a quadruped, but it agrees quite as closely with the 
fin of the whale or the pectoral fin of the fish ; . . . But 
this correspondence is not limited to the skeleton ; every 
other system of organs exhibits in these animals the same 
relations, the same identity in plan and structure, whatever, 
be the differences in the form of the parts, in their number, 
and even in their functions."! 

It cannot be decided to what extent, if any, Aristotle 
was thinking of the plan of structure of the parts, when he 
compared them, but it is clear that he was referring chiefly 
to their functions, positions, and mere external resemblances. 

Two very important terms of classification, employed by 
Aristotle, may now be considered, viz., genos and eidos. 
These are often translated as " genus " and " species " re- 
spectively. In many cases, eidos may be translated fairly 
well in this way, but genos usually signifies a class, an order, 
or a family. 

* P. A. I c. 5, 6456. 
f An Essay on Classification, 1859, pp. 25, 20. 


Singly or in association these terms occur in not less 
than three hundred passages in Aristotle's zoological works, 
and also in many other passages, chiefly in his Organon. 
Most of these passages merely give examples of the use of 
the terms, but some explain their meanings, and the fol- 
lowing discussion is based on several of these explanatory 

Particular animals, or individuals, such as Socrates or 
Coriscos, are essences, or actual existences, exhibiting dif- 
ferences which distinguish one from another.* These 
essences have certain features in common, and a group 
may be formed of such essences. Such a group may be 
defined by means of the term eidos, provided the common 
features more closely indicate the nature of the essences 
included in the group, or by means of the term genos, if the 
common features indicate the nature of the essences less 
closely. Thus, the nature of Socrates or Coriscos is more 
closely defined by the name Man than by the name animal, 
which, in this case, represent eidos and genos respectively.! 

Animals of which the parts, internal as well as external, 
are the same, belong to the same eidos, I e.g., Man con- 
stitutes one eidos, and the horse another, § and Aristotle also 
' states that the parts necessary to an animal, e.g., the parts 
for receiving and digesting food, the locomotory parts, and 
some of the sense organs, should be the same in animals 
belonging to the same eidos. \\ Differences in essential, and 
not accidental, features should alone be considered, and, 
among examples of accidental features or qualities, he 
mentions the whiteness of snow and the equivalence of the 
angles of a plane triangle to two right angles. IT Evidently, 
although he says that the parts of animals belonging to the 
same eidos should be the same, he does not mean that these 
parts should be alike in all respects. He often refers, in 
fact, to differences in colour, shape, and relative sizes of 
parts, such as, for instance, the eyes, ears, and locomotory 
and other parts, in different individuals of the same eidos. 

The capability of generating fertile offspring has often 
been considered to be important in defining a species. 
Aristotle also considered it to be important in connection 
with his views on eidos. He says that animals of the same 

■''• P. A. i. c. 4, Giia ; De Long, et Brev. Vitce, c. 1 ; Categ. c. 3. 
i Categ. c. 3. + H. A. i. c. 1, s. 2. 

§ Topica, i. c. 5, s. 2. || Politica, iv. c. 3, ss. 9 and 10. 

i\ Topica, iv. c. 1, ss. 1-3 ; P. A. i. c. 3, G43rt. 


eidos generate animals of the same eidos as themselves, and 
that animals not of the same eidos, such as the horse 
and the ass, generate animals of a different eidos * The 
Hemioiwi, or half-asses of Syria, are so called, he says, 
because of their likeness to the ass, although they are not 
of the same eidos, for they certainly breed among them- 
selves.! Agassiz, referring to this passage, says : — " Aristotle 
already considers fecundity as a specific character.! 

On the whole, Aristotle's idea of an eidos was much like 
the modern idea of a species, but there are many passages 
in iiZ. ^. viii. and ix., which show that his eidos often had, 
in practice, very much the same meaning as the modern 
term genus. 

The term genos is of very wide signification, and denotes 
a group of animals with parts of the same kind, but differing 
in excess and deficiency ; § on the other hand, animals with 
parts which resemble one another only by analogy belong 
to different gene.W 

In accordance with the principles thus laid down, Aris- 
totle forms a genos of Ornithes, and another of Ichthyes, 
both of the first magnitude, i.e., containing blood ; he also 
forms a third genos, the Selache, comprising fishes in which 
cartilage takes the place of bone. He found difficulties in 
the further application of this method, for he says that it is 
not easy to arrange all animals in this w^ay, because so many 
of them present the same analogous structure. II In the more 
difficult cases, then, he has recourse to other means, and bases 
the formation of his gene — the Kete or Ketode, Malakia, 
Malakostraka, Ostrahoderma, and Entoma, and the small 
group of the Lophoura — on the existence of certain struc- 
tural features. 

The above are the best-defined of Aristotle's gene, and 
constitute the best proof that he attempted to form a 
systematic classification. He says that his Ornithes, 
Ichthyes, and Ketode are his most important classes {gene 
megista), because they include animals with blood, and that 
the Malakia, Malakostraka, Ostrakoderma, and Entoma, 
animals without blood, are important classes {gene megala), 
there being no important gene other than these.** In 
various other passages, he speaks of a genos of snakes, one 

* G. A. ii. c. 8, 7476, and 748a. f H. A. i. c. G, s. 3. 

\ Op. cit. p. 801. § fl". il. i. c. 1, s. 2 ; P. A. i. c. 4, 644a, 

]| H. A. ii. c. 1, s. 1 ; P. A. \. c. 4, 644rt. U P. A. i. c. 4, 644a, 

** H. A. i. c, 6, s. 1. 


of lizards, one of frogs, one of viviparous quadrupeds, and 
one of oviparous quadrupeds, but they are not described as 
gene, in the same way as, for instance, the Ketode. The 
chief reason for this appears to be that he v^^as influenced 
by the popular grouping of animals, and preferred to describe 
separately many animals, such as, for example, monkeys, 
bears, and chamseleons, which the common people had not 
included in groups known by popular names.* 

In addition to the groups referred to above as being the 
ones best-defined by Aristotle, there are a few others which 
may be included in his classification, because he describes 
them sufficiently clearly to enable them to be identified 
with orders or families of modern classifications. The 
groups referred to are included, therefore, in the subjoined 
tabular representation of Aristotle's classification. The 
numbers following the various groups represent approxi- 
mately the numbers of different kinds of animals referred 
to by Aristotle : — 

A. Enaima [Vertebrata] . (372.) 

1. Kete or Ketode [Cetacea]. (4.) 

2, Viviparous animals with feet \_Mammalia other than 

Cetacea] . (62.) 

a. Non-amphodonta [Bummantia'] . 

b. Monycha [Solidungulata']. 

1. Lophoura [Equidcc]. 

2. Monycha other than Lophoura [not classified] . 

c. Viviparous animals with feet, other than above [not 

classified] . 

.3. Ornithes lAves]. (170.) 

a. Gampsonyches [Baptores, chiefly]. 
b.' Steganopodes [Natatores]. 

c. Peristeroeide [Columbidce]. 

d. Apodes [Swifts, Martins, and Swallows] . 

e. Birds other than above [not classified] . 

4. Oviparous quadrupeds [Beptiliao.ndiBatrachiachi&Q.y']. 


5. Ichthyes [JPisces]. (IIG.) 

a. Selache [Elasmobranchii + Lophius] . 

b. Fishes other than above [not classified] . 

;* H. A. i. c. G, s. 8, ii. c. 11, s. 1 ; P. A. i. c. 4, 6446. 


B. Ansbiingb [Invertebrata] . (120.) 

1. Malakia \_Cephalopoda]. (6.) 

2. Malakostraka \_Malacostraca] . (16.) 

3. Ostrakoderma \_Mollusca (other than Cephalopoda), 

Echinodermata, and Ascidia'\. (25.) 

4. Entoma [Insecta, Arachnida, and Chilognatha, chiefly] . 


5. Spongoi \^Spongidce] . (4.) 

6. Akalephae \_CoeIenterata'\. (2.) 

7. Anaima other than above [not classified] . (7.) 

A special interest is connected with the two main divisions, 
viz., Enaima and Anaima, in the above scheme. The 
distinction between them was used by many zoologists until 
Lamarck and Cuvier used the almost equivalent terms, Ver- 
tehrata and Invertehrata, the latter of which, like Aristotle's 
Anaima, is open to the objection that it is of a purely 
negative character. 




The number of Anaima described or mentioned by 
Aristotle is about one hundred and twenty, and not less 
than one-half of these belong to his Entoma. Many of his 
statements, mostly relating to the anatomy of the Anaima, 
have been discussed in the preceding chapters. Some of his 
remaining statements, chiefly about those Anaima which 
can be fairly well identified, will be discussed next. 

Aristotle gives a description of three kinds of sponges, 
sufficient to show that they belong to the horny sponges 
[Ceratosa), including the ordinary sponges of commerce, and 
he also gives a description of some sponge-like form of life, 
called Aplysia, because, unlike sponges, it remained black 
when washed.* One kind of sponge, which he says is 
compact or close in texture (9ry«voV) and softer than the others, 
may be the fine Turkey sponge {Euspongia officinalis, var. 
mollissima) ; another kind, called the sponge of Achilles, 
very thin, compact, and strong, and commonly laid under 
helmets and greaves to deaden the effects of blows, may be 
the lappet variety of Turkey sponge, or, possibly, the brown 
Turkey or Zimocha sponge {Euspongia zimocca) ; Aristotle's 
remaining sponge, having a larger base of attachment, and 
further characterized by being loose in texture ij^avoi) and 
larger than the other sponges, seems to be the common 
bath sponge {Hippospongia equina). 

Aristotle says that, on the upper parts of sponges, are 
hemmed-in passages or ducts (poroi), four or five of which 
are conspicuous, and that some believed that the food of the 
sponges entered through these.! 

For two thousand years after Aristotle's time, it was 
believed that currents of water entered the large passages of 
a sponge, and it was not until Dr. Grant, after very careful 
observations, concluded that water was drawn into the 

- H. A. V. c. 14, ss. 2-6. f Ibid. v. c. 14, s. 5. 


minute apertures of the sponge and ejected through the 
larger passages, now called oscules, that this error was fully 

Sea-anemones and medusae were included by Aristotle 
under the name Akalephe or Knide, each meaning a nettle. 
He says that this group of animals is peculiar, and that 
some live attached to rocks, while others are free.t Speak- 
ing of the sea-anemones, he says that they have a central 
mouth and that they seize, as it were by a hand, small 
fishes that come in their way, and, probably referring more 
particularly to medusas, he says that they can sting so 
much that the flesh is made to swell, t 

Aristotle's Ostrakoderma, one of his four great classes 
of Anaima, included molluscs (other than cephalopods), 
echinoderms, and ascidians, the last two being peculiar kinds 
of Ostrakoderma.^ The typical animals of this class were 
snails and oysters, having their internal parts fleshy, but 
their external parts hard and brittle. H 

The main characteristics of the whelk {Buccinum) are 
clearly stated by Aristotle. He calls it Kerijx, and states 
that its shell is spiral and rough, ^ and that it has a powerful 
proboscis,** and he also notices its operculum and its egg 
capsules, f t He erroneously believed that the proboscis was 
the effective means used by the whelk in boring through 
shells and other hard substances, whereas it is the radula. 

The most interesting gastropods described by Aristotle 
are his Porphurai, which included Murex hrandaris, in 
particular, M. trunculus, and some species of Furpura. He 
says that the Porphnra has a spiral shell and a powerful 
proboscis, tt This mollusc makes, he says, the so-called 
honeycomb (egg capsule), which is not, however, hollowed 
out like a honeycomb, but composed of what may be com- 
pared to the white pods of certain plants; Porphurai, he adds, 
are not produced from the honeycomb, which is of the 
nature of excreta. §§ He also refers to the operculum. || |1 As 
in the case of the Keryx, he erroneously believed that the 
proboscis of Porphitra was used for boring hard substances. 

It is well known that the famous Tyrian dye was prepared 

* "Observations, &c., on the Sponge," EcUnhurgh Pliilosph. Journ., 
vol. xiv. 1826, pp. 117-9. 

f H. A. iv. c. 6, ss. 4 and 5. | Ibid. iv. c. 6, s. 4. 

§ P. A. iv. c. 5, 680a. || H. A. iv. c. 1, s. 2. 

"f Ibid. iv. c. 4, ss. 1 and 3. '■^'■'■''' Ibid. iv. c. 4, s. 8. 

ft Ibid. V. c. 13, ss. 1 and 7. ++ Ibid. iv. c. 4, ss. 1 and 8. 

§§ Ibid. V. c. 13, s. 1. il|l Ibid. v. c. 13, s. 7. 


from species of Murex and Purpura. Aristotle gives a 
rather full account of the preparation of a similar dye from 
his Porphiirai. The pigment, he says, appears to extend, 
like a duct or vessel, through a white membrane between 
the mecon (or liver) and the neck, and when this membrane 
is taken away and squeezed the pigment wets and stains the 
fingers.* The small shells, he says, are pounded up without 
removing the molluscs, because these are not easily removed, 
but the molluscs are removed from the large shells, and the 
pigment taken out.f 

The pigment is found, very much in the way Aristotle 
says, near the hinder part of the neck, and lies in a duct or 
vein there. It is of about the consistency and colour of 
cream before exposure to the air, which changes it to a 
purple tint. 

A gastropod, called by Aristotle Nerites, cannot be satis- 
factorily identified. He says that it has a smooth, large, 
rounded shell, similar in form to that of the whelk, that its 
mecon is red, and that some kind of crustacean sometimes 
lives in its shell. I It would seem, from H.A.v. c. 13, s. 8, 
that the Nerites lived attached to rocks, and, in a passage in 
which he incorrectly asserts that all molluscs with spiral 
shells have an operculum, he refers to that of Nerites.^ 

Prof. Forbes identified the Nerites with littoral forms 
of Trochus, found abundantly along the rocky shores of 
the iEgean.ll 

The above are the most interesting examples of 
Aristotle's molluscs with coiled shells, in which, he says, the 
flesh-like parts can be concealed to a very large extent. IT 
From a series of passages, in H. A. iv. c. 4, s. 2, it is 
sufficiently clear that he grouped molluscs which have 
not coiled shells {stromhoi) into univalves (monothura) and 
bivalves (dithicra) . 

Aristotle's typical example of his monothura is the 
patella or limpet, called by him Lepas, which, he says, 
has its flesh-like parts exposed,**" and lives attached to 
rocks, t f 

Of Aristotle's dithura, his Pinna, Kteis, and Solen will 
be discussed. 

='= H. A. V. c. 13, s. 4. f Ibid. V. c. 13, s. 5. 

I Ibid. iv. c. 4, s. 17. § P. A. iv. c. 5, 6796. 

II 'Travels in Lycia, dc, 1847, vol. ii. p. 110. 

^ H. A. iv. c. 4, s. 1. =1=* Ibid. iv. c. 4, p. 2. 

ft Ibid. iv. e. 4, s. 18. 


The valves of Pinna are rough, according to Aristotle, 
but not ribbed,* and, secured by means of a byssus, they 
grow up erect in the sand or mud.t He also says that 
a small crab, the Pinnoteres, or Pinnophijlax (guardian of 
the pinna), lives within the shell.! It is well known that 
a small crab lives in the gills and mantle of several lamelli- 
branchs, such as, for example, Pinna squamosa, of the 

Some of Aristotle's most interesting statements about 
the Kteis (pecten) , relating to its sense organs and mode of 
progression, have been discussed already in Chapters xii. and 
xiii. respectively. He says also, speaking of its valves, that 
they are ribbed, and that the large kinds of pecten have one 
valve flat.§ It is true that the common edible pecten and 
some others have the left valve flat or nearly so. 

The solens are sufficiently clearly described by Aristotle. 
He says that their valves are smooth, || and that they live in 
sandy shores, remaining in one place, but not fixed in it, for 
they can withdraw themselves into the sand, when alarmed. If 
His suggestion that solens can see has been discussed in 
Chapter xii. 

Most of the molluscs described by Aristotle are marine, 
but he also clearly refers to various snails of the genus Helix, 
which he calls by the name KocJilias. He says that the 
terrestrial Kochliai hybernate, and, during the period of 
hybernation, have an operculum.** He also says that these 
Kochliai are devoured by pigs and partridges.! t 

Sea-urchins and star-fishes were included by Aristotle 
among his Ostrakoderma, but were considered by him to be 
exceptional forms. Speaking of sea-urchins (Echinoi), he 
says that there are several kinds, one having large and edible 
ova, another, called Echinometra, which is the largest of the 
sea-urchins, and a third kind having large and hard spines, 
and living in many fathoms of water. 1 1 He also refers to 
two deep-sea and rare forms, viz., Spatangos and Bryttos, 
and some white Echinoi, of longer form than the others, and 
having somewhat small and soft spines ; these white Echinoi 
were found near Torona, in Macedonia. §§ 

It is not easy to identify the above-mentioned echino- 

■■■• H. A. iv. c. 4, s. 3. 

f Ibid. V. c. 13, s. 8. I Ibid. v. c. 13, ss. 8 and 9. 

§ Ibid. iv. c. 4, ss. 3 and 12. || Ibid. iv. c. 4, s. 3. 

H Ibid. iv. c. 8, s. 18, v. c. 13, ss. 8 and 10. 

** Ibid. viii. c. 16, s. 1. f f Ibid. ix. c. 25, s. 3. 

II Ibid. iv. c. 5, ss. 1 and 2. §§ Ibid. iv. c. 5, ss. 2 and 3. 


derms, but Prof. Forbes says that the one with large and 
edible ova is the purple sea-egg {Ecliinus lividus), that the 
Echinometra is probably E. esculentus, and that the one with 
hard spines is Cidaris histrix; he adds that E. lividus is the 
one chiefly used as food in the eastern Mediterranean.* 

Star-fishes are clearly referred to by Aristotle. He says 
that they seize their prey and suck out their juices, and that 
they destroy very many oysters, t The ravages committed 
by star-fishes among oysters are well known. 

Aristotle says that the Aster (star-fish) is in form like a 
drawing of a star, and makes the fanciful statement that it 
is naturally so hot that its food is at once digested.! 

The fixed ascidians seem to have been carefully examined 
by Aristotle. He calls them Tethya, and considers them to 
be a special kind of his Ostrakoderma. Their external 
casing, he says, is of a nature between that of skin and that 
of a hard shell, and can be cut like hard leather; this casing 
is fixed to the rocks, and in it are a water inlet and a water 
outlet. § After giving this description, which is quite correct, 
he clearly refers to the inner muscular tunic or body-w^all, 
enclosing the soft parts of the animal, but states incorrectly 
that this tunic is a sinewy {neurode) membrane. || Again, 
he refers to the perforated pharyngeal wall and the atrial 
chamber through which the water, filtered from the parts 
serving as food, passes to the water outlet.*^ 

It is evident that he placed the ascidians in a far lower 
position than they occupy in modern systems of classifi- 
cation, viz., near Ampliioxus. He was not certain that they 
deserved to be put even in his Ostrakoderma, but, concluding 
that they had no distinct residual matters, expressed an 
opinion that they were of the nature of plants.** 

The most interesting part of Aristotle's work in con- 
nection with his Entomci relates to his selection of the 
animals to be included in that class. His ideas on this 
subject were in advance of those of many naturalists from 
his time till the end of the eighteenth century. His main 
definition is as follows: — " I call those animals Entoma which 
have incisions in their bodies, either in their ventral parts, 
or in these and also their dorsal parts."! t 

Aristotle's definition of his Entoma is so comprehensive 

* Travels in Lycia, dc, 1847, vol. ii. pp. 115-C. 

+ P. A. iv. c. 5, 6816. j H. A. v. c. 13, s. 10. 

§ Ibid. iv. c. 6, s. 1. || Ibid. iv. c. 6, s. 2. 

H P. A. iv. c. 5, 681rt.. *- Ibid. ff H. A. i. c. 1, s. 7. 


that it would include most animals of the sub-kingdoms 
Arthropoda, Vermes, and Echinodermata, but this definition 
is so qualified by other passages in his works as to show that 
the meaning which he gave to the term, in practice, was of 
very much narrower scope. His Malakostraka, among 
which he included many crustaceans, constitutes a separate 
genos or class ; * he expressly excludes from his Entoma 
animals which are not furnished with many legs, and adds 
that the number of legs is proportional, in some way, to the 
length of the body or number of its incisions, a smaller 
number of legs being compensated for by the presence of 
wings, t His Entoma, in fact, are chiefly butterflies and 
moths, beetles, bees, wasps, hornets, ants, houseflies, gad- 
flies, gnats, dayflies, grasshoppers, locusts, spiders, scor- 
pions, centipedes, and millipedes. 

As far as he separated crustaceans from his Entoma, 
Aristotle was greatly in advance of many of the later 
naturalists, who classed them with their Insecta. Agassiz 
says : — "Aristotle divides this group more correctly than 
Linnaeus, as he admits already two classes among them, the 
Malacostraca (Crustacea) and the Entoma (Insects). "t 
The confused classifications of the lower forms of life 
adopted by naturalists of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and 
eighteenth centuries were chiefly due to their adoption 
either of Aristotle's definition of his Entoma, without any 
regard for its qualifying clauses, or Pliny's definition, § 
which is adapted from Aristotle's definition but includes 
apterous and also apodal animals which have incisions. 

Aldrovandi, Swammerdam, Ray, Linnaeus, and many 
others included, in their writings on " insects," crustaceans 
and some other forms of life which Aristotle's Entoma 
would not include. However, at the very beginning of the 
nineteenth century, Lamarck definitely separated the 
Crustacea and also the Arachnida from his Insecta, and, 
although he kept an old order, Insecta aptera, he deprived 
it of most of its former dignity by assigning to it only one 
genus, viz., Pulex, Linn., with two species, of which one is 
P. irritans, or " la puce ordinaire." || To discuss satisfac- 
torily the classifications of "insects" made between the 
time of Aristotle and that of Lamarck would be a task of 

■■■■ H. A. i. c. 6, s. 1, iv. c. 1, s. 2 ; G. A. i. c. 14, 7206. 
+ P. A. iv. c. 6, 682a and b. 

I An Essay on Classification, 1859, p. 305, Note. 
§ Nat. Hist, xi, 1. 

II Syst. des Aiiim. sans Vertebr,, Paris, 1801, p. 314. 


considerable difficulty, but it may be said that, in some essen- 
tial respects, they were inferior to that indicated by Aristotle, 

About sixty Entoma are described or mentioned by 
Aristotle, but only a comparatively small number of these 
can be satisfactorily identified. Some of these will next be 

He compares the hind legs of the Akris or locust to the 
two rudders used in some Greek ships, one on each side 
towards the stern,* and says that it produces a sound by 
rubbing itself with its, pedalla, rudders or hind legs.t 

He was aware that it deposits its eggs a short distance 
below the surface of the ground, and that its young emerge 
in a form very much like that of the parent, there being no 
distinct metamorphosis.! It is probable that the locust to 
which he refers is the migratory locust {Pachytylus migra- 
torius) of south-eastern Europe. 

The cicada is clearly referred to by Aristotle in many 
passages, although some of these passages do not correctly 
describe the characteristics of this insect. The cicada has a 
piercing and suctorial beak, by which it sucks the juices of 
plants. Aristotle says that the Tettix {Cicada) has a tongue- 
like process, by which it feeds on dew only.§ The idea that 
the cicada feeds on dew only is commonly found among the 
ancient writers. 

The singing of the cicada is produced by membranes in 
chambers covered by scaly plates on the under side of the 
abdomen and just behind the thorax ; the membranes are 
vibrated by the action of certain muscles. Aristotle says 
that the Tettix sings in consequence of the friction of the 
air on the membranes beneath the liypozoma or part close 
to the division between the thorax and abdomen. || 

The male cicadas sing, the females being silent; this was 
exceedingly well known to the Ancients, and is referred 
to by Aristotle. II He also refers to large cicadas, called 
Achetai, which sing, and small ones, called Tettigonia, 
which do not sing, or sing but little.** This passage, 
especially the last part of it, is difficult to understand, but 
it is probable, from the context in H. A. v. c. 24, that 
Aristotle intends to refer to large and small cicadas differing 
in species. 

- P. A. iv. c. 6, 683(x. f H. A. iv. c. 9, s. 2. 

I Ibid. V. c. 17, s. 2, v. c. 23, ss. 1 and 2. 

§ Ibid. iv. c. 7, s. 7 ; P. A. iv. c. 5, 682rt. 

jl H. A. iv. c. 9, 8. 2. IT Ibid. v. c. 24, s. 4. *=t= Ibid. v. c. 24, s. 1. 


Cicadas have powerful ovipositors by means of which 
they pierce plants before depositing their eggs, and the 
young ones drop into the ground and go through an incom- 
plete metamorphosis. Aristotle says that the Tettix deposits 
its eggs in certain plants and also in the ground, and he 
speaks of its larva and of its undergoing a kind of meta- 

The May or dayfly [Ephemera) seems to be described 
by Aristotle. He says that, about the summer solstice, 
casings larger than grape seeds float down the river Hypanis 
(the modern Bug), and, when these casings burst, an 
insect with four feet escapes, and lives and flies about till 
evening, when it dies. For this reason, he says, it is called 
Ephemeron, because it lives only about one day.f He states 
elsewhere that the Ephemeron has four legs and also four 
wings, t The Mayfly, however, has six legs, like other insects. 

He uses the word Psyche for several kinds of Lepidop- 
tera, but, in H. A. v. c. 17, s. 4, he seems to refer to a 
cabbage butterfly, such as Pieris hrassicce, for he says that 
the caterpillars of certain kinds of Psyche are produced from 
something smaller than millet seeds on the leaves of 
cabbages {Baphanoi or Krambai). He also refers to the 
loopers or Geometrida:, for he says that the Penia and 
Hypera are produced from caterpillars which form waves as 
they walk, the hinder parts of their bodies being bent up 
towards the front parts. § The larv£e of certain kinds of 
Tinea, called by him Setes, are referred to m. H. A. v. c. 26, 
s. 1, where he says that they are found in woollen goods and 

Aristotle says that his Kouleoptera have elytra and are 
without stings. II Several of the names used by him to 
denote various kinds of beetles, e. g., Kleros, Karabos, and 
Melolonthe, are used to-day in a slightly modified form, but 
only a few of his beetles can be identified satisfactorily. 
His Kantharos is the Egyptian sacred beetle {Scarabceus 
sacer), which is found also in southern Europe. He says 
that it rolls up dung into balls in which its young are pro- 
duced. H The larvae of Kleros, which Aristotle says infests 
beehives,** are usually believed to be those of Trichodes 
apiarius, which often commit great ravages in the hives. 

* H. A. V. c. 24, s. 3. + Ibid. v. c. 17, s. 14. 

I Ibid. i. c. 5, 8. 7. § Ibid. v. c. 17, s. 6. 

II Ibid. i. c. 5, s. 5. H Ibid. v. c. 17, s. 10. 

*- Ibid. viii. c. 26, s. 1, ix. c. 27, s. 20. 


Numerous statements about bees and wasps are made 
by Aristotle. Some of these have been considered in 
Chapter xiv., when deaUng with the generation of bees. Of 
the rest, one is specially worthy of mention, because it 
is evidence of close and patient observation. He says that, 
during each flight, bees do not visit flowers of different kinds, 
but go, from violet to violet, as it were, and do not touch 
any other kind until they arrive at the hive.* This has 
long been proved to be substantially correct. 

The book scorpion {Clielifer cancroides) is clearly re- 
ferred to in H. A. iv. c. 7, s. 4, and v. c. 26, s. 1, where it is 
said to be like a scorpion, except that it has no tail, and to 
be of small size and found among scrolls or manuscripts. 

Aristotle's Malakostraka, in which he includes Karabos, 
Astakos, Karkinos, Karis, Krangon, and several other 
crustaceans, have their external coverings soft, compared 
with those of his typical Ostrakodenna, but of a somewhat 
tough nature.! He sometimes calls them Skleroderma, or 
animals with harsh or hard skins. I Their voracity, the 
existence of large and also very small kinds of them, the 
periodic casting of their skins, their peculiar modes of pro- 
gression, the carrying of their eggs beneath the abdomen of 
the female, and some differences between the appendages of 
the males and those of the females, are all mentioned by 

He makes numerous statements about Karabos which 
show sufficiently clearly that he refers to the rock lobster 
{Palinurus vulgaris). The most important characteristics 
of Karabos, clearly given by Aristotle, are that it is elon- 
gated, and has a tail and also five swimming plates (Ttrspiiyia) 
on its telson,§ that it has two large and rough horns 
(antennae) in front of the eyes and two small and smooth 
ones (antennules) below, || that its eyes are large, and 
compared with Astakos (to be discussed later), its rostrum is 
short and cephalothorax rough, H and that its ova are red.** 

The rock lobster, whether male or female, has chelae on 
the first pair of feet, but these chelae are not well-developed 
like those of the crayfish or common lobster. In different 
rock lobsters the extent of development of the chelae varies, 
but in those I have seen the inner part of the chela was 

- E. A. ix. c. 27, s. 7. f Ibid. iv. c. 1, s. 2. 

I P. A. ii. c. 13, 6576. § H. A. iv. c. 2, s. 4. 

II Ibid. iv. c. 2, s. 5. •! Ibid. iv. c. 2, s. 8. 
=*=* Ibid. iv. c. 2, s. 13. 


very short and bit against the proximal end of the outer 

Aristotle's statements on this subject are inconsistent, 
and, in the identification of Karahos, it is best to follow the 
course adopted by Meyer,* and take the evidence furnished 
by Aristotle's description as a whole. 

Not less than two species, viz., Homarus vulgaris, the 
common lobster, and Astacus fluviatilis, the crayfish, are 
included under the name Astakos. Aristotle clearly gives 
the following characteristic features, viz., chelae large and 
unlike in size and form, with sharp marginal spines; four 
pairs of small legs, of which two pairs are chelate ; antennae 
much shorter and smoother than in Karahos ; eyes smaller 
that those of Karahos ; rostrum long, sharp, and rough ; 
cephalothorax smooth and comparatively soft.t He also 
says that there are four antennules,t and was apparently 
unaware that there are really only two, each of which is 
divided. The crayfish is more particularly referred to in 
H. A. iv. c. 4, s. 19, where he says: " like the small Astakoi, 
which are found in rivers," 

That Aristotle's Karkinoi are crabs is clear from his 
showing that they are decapods, rounded and not elongated, 
and that they are without tails, such as those of the 
Karahoi and some other crustaceans. § He also says that 
the right chela is always, || or generally,^ larger than the left. 
The right chela is larger than the left one in many crabs, 
but there are some in which the right and left chelae differ 
but little, if any, in size, e. g., specimens of Portunus, 
Geryon, and Thalamita, while there are some in which the 
left chela is larger than the right, e.g., specimens of Xantho, 
Ocypoda, and Porcellana. 

The largest crab, Aristotle says, is Mala, with eyes 
close together, and with very thin legs ; this crab lives 
out in the sea.** It is probable that this is one of the 
spider crabs. 

Aristotle clearly refers to some species of Ocypoda, or 
swift land crab, for he says that, on the coast of Phcenicia, 
there are crabs called Hippeis, or horsemen, because they 

* Aristoteles Thierhunde, Berlin, 1855, pp. 240. 
t H. A. iv. c. 2, ss. 6-9 ; P. A. iv. c. 8, 684a. 

I H. A. iv. c. 2, s. 8. 

§ H. A. iv. c. 2, ss. 3 and 4 ; P. A. iv. c. 8, 6a4a. 

II P. A. iv. c. 8, 684a. H H. A. iv. c. 3, s. 1. 
** H. A. iv. c. 2, s. 2, iv. c. 3, s. 2 ; P. A. iv. c. 8, 684a. 



run so fast that it is not easy to overtake them.* He also 
was well acquainted with more than one kind of hermit- 
crab, and speaks of its living in different kinds of shells.! Of 
the remaining crabs referred to by Aristotle there is one 
which can be fairly well identified. This, which he says is 
found in rivers,! seems to be Thelphusa fluviatilis, com- 
mon in southern Europe. 

There are other crustaceans which Aristotle calls 
Karides, under which he includes three kinds, Kyphe, 
Krangon, and a small kind of Karis, which never grow 
larger. § The Krangon, which is said to have all its feet 
directed outwards, but its chelae turned inwards, || may be a 
Squilla or mantis shrimp. 

Many of the appendages of Squilla are short and not 
seen in dorsal view ; Aristotle says, apparently influenced 
by this, that a large part of the body of the Krangon is 
without feet. IT The information given about the two other 
kinds of Karis is not enough to identify them, but Kyphe 
has been thought to be the common shrimp {Crangon 
vulgaris) . 

It is evident from Chapter xv, that Aristotle treated his 
Malakia as if they had no connection with the molluscs. 
He considered them to be the highest representatives of his 
Anaiina, mainly because of their sexual mode of reproduc- 
tion, their well-developed sense organs, and their arrange- 
ment of soft and hard parts, the former external and the 
latter internal, as in his Enaima** He distinguishes 
the decapods from the octopods. He shows that the 
former have eight short feet, each with a double row of 
suckers, and also two long proboscis-like parts with suckers 
at their ends, a large or long body, and a hard internal 
support, ft 

Aristotle describes three decapods, viz., Sepia, Teuthos, 
and Teuthis. The Sepia, according to him, is rather broad 
and has a cuttle-bone, a narrow fin extending along the 
whole body, and a large ink-bag situated as far as possible 
from the mouth. 1 1 He says that its eggs, like large, black 
seeds, are connected together like a bunch of fruit. §§ Both 

•^ H. A. iv. c. 2, s. 2. f Ibid. iv. c. 4, ss. 14-17. 

I Ibid. iv. c. 2, s. 2. § Ibid. iv. c. 2, s. 1. 

II Ibid. iv. c. 2, s. 4. H Ibid. 

** Ibid. iv. c. 1, 8. 1. If H. A. iv. c. 1 ; P. A. iv. c. 9. 

II H. A. iv. c. 1, ss. 8, 11, and 12 ; P. A. iv. c. 5, 679a, iv. c. 9, 6856. 
§§ H. A. V. c. 16, 8. 3. 


Teuthos and Teuthis differ, he says, from Sepia in having a 
smaller ink-bag situated nearer the mouth, and a " cartila- 
ginous " internal support, shaped like a sword.* Aristotle 
says that Teuthos differs from Teuthis chiefly in its much 
larger size (being sometimes about eight feet long), in the 
broader shape of its pointed end (to 6^u) , and in the arrange- 
ment of its fin, which extends along its whole body, while 
that of Teuthis is incomplete.! 

Clearly Aristotle's Sepia is a cuttle-fish, such as Sepia 
officinalis, and Teuthos and Teuthis are large and small 
calamaries or squids, Teuthos probably being Loligo vulgaris. 
It does not seem to be possible to identify Teuthis satis- 
factorily. Frantzius believed that it was Bossia or Sepiola, 
each of which, it is true, has two fins quite separate and 
like wings on the sides of its body, but then neither of these 
cephalopods has its abdominal end pointed, each having it 
as nearly as possible hemispherical. 

Aristotle describes several kinds of octopods. One of 
these, which he says is the largest and most common kind, t 
is Octopus vtilgaris, and is referred to in many passages. 
Another kind, called Eledone, is stated to be the only 
one which has a single row of suckers on each arm.§ 
This kind is the modern eledone, common in the 
Mediterranean, but it is not possible to determine the 
species referred to by Aristotle. A third kind, called 
Bolitaina or Ozolis, is not described sufficiently to allow of 
its being identified. 

There are two marine animals, according to Aristotle, 
which live in shells, one called Nautilos or Nautihos, with 
a shell like that of a pecten, when in its open position, and 
the other with a shell like that of a snail ; this kind never 
leaves its shell, and sometimes extends its arms.|| 

Aristotle's Nautilos was an argonaut, such as Argonauta 
argo. He gives some information about its habits, 
obtained probably from fishermen or sailors. He describes 
how it sails on the surfaice of the sea, with its shell up- 
turned and propelled by winds acting on an expanded web 
between two of its arms, and how, when alarmed, it fills 
its shell with water and sinks. ^ This is a fanciful de- 
scription. The shell of the female argonaut, which alone 

- H. A. iv. c. 1, s. 12 ; P. A. iv. c. 5, 679a. 
f H. A. iv. c. 1, ss. 8 and 9. \ Ibid. iv. c. 1, s. 15. 

§ Ihid. II Ibid. iv. c. 1, s. 16. 

U Ibid. ix. c. 25, s. 12. 


has a shell, has its coiled part uppermost, when the animal 
is at the sm'face, and is not caused to sink by filling with 

It does not seem to be possible to identify Aristotle's 
marine animal having a shell like that of a snail. It may 
be a gastropod, and Prof. E. Forbes suggested Carinaria 
mediterranea* the shell of which is, however, very small 
and not capable of containing the animal, when retracted. 
A more satisfactory identification would be furnished by 
gastropods of the marine genus Atlanta, in which the shell, 
although small, is capable of containing the animal, while 
the three lobes of the foot often project beyond the mouth 
of the shell. There is nothing to show, however, that 
Aristotle was acquainted with these gastropods. Nautilus 
po7npilius, with which some have identified Aristotle's 
animal, is not found in the Mediterranean. 

* Travels in Lycia, dc, vol. ii. p. 101. 



When expressing astonishment at the variety and 
extent of Aristotle's knowledge, one of the characters of 
Athenaeus asks from what Proteus or Nereus he could have 
found out all that he says about fishes and other animals.* 
It is well known that Aristotle, living for many years close 
to the sea, obtained a great deal of information about fishes 
and other aquatic animals from fishermen, but the curiosity 
shown by the questioner in Athenseus is quite natural. 
Aristotle's knowledge of the fishes of the Mediterranean 
was, in fact, not only greater than that of any other ancient 
writer, but, if such ichthyologists as Belon, Eondelet, and 
Salviani are excepted, was greater than that of any other 
writer before the time of Eisso and Cuvier. The number 
of kinds of fishes described or mentioned by him is not less 
than one hundred and ten, and about many of these he not 
only discusses some anatomical characteristics, but also their 
food, breeding habits, migrations, and modes of capture. 

Most of his fishes are described separately, without any 
attempt being made to classify them. The cartilaginous 
fishes, however, are grouped together in a ge7ios or class, 
called SelacJie, a name very familiar in various forms to 
modern ichthyologists. 

The chief features of Aristotle's Selache are that they are 
cartilaginous,! that their gills are uncovered,! that they are 
carnivorous, live in deep waters, and throw themselves on 
their backs to take their prey, their mouths being placed, not 
directly in the front parts of their heads, but on their under- 
sides, § and that, excepting Batrachos, they are viviparous, || 

"-•'- Deipn. viii. c. 47. 

f H. A. iii. c. 7, s. 6, iii. c. 8 ; P. A. ii. c. 9, 655a. 

X H. A. ii. c. 9, s. 3 ; P. A. iv. c. 13, 6966. 

§ H. A. viii. c. 4, ss. 1, 3, and 4, viii. c. 15, s. 1 ; P. A. iv. c. 13, 6966. 

ij H. A. ii. c. 9, 3. 6. 


or, as Aristotle explains more correctly, ovoviviparous.* 
He also says that they have fat livers from which oil 
is extracted,! and that they have no scales, but that some 
are rough.! 

Pliny says that Aristotle was the first to give the name 
Selache to fishes of this kind.§ 

Among Aristotle's SelacJie the following are included : — 

A ietos 




A lop ex 



Sky lion 



Prist is 






The inclusion of Batrachos, the fishing-frog, is one of 
the chief defects in his work on cartilaginous fishes. 
Again, his assertion that all his Selache, except Batrachos, 
are viviparous, || is incorrect, for some are oviparous, e. g., 
the true dog-fishes and rays. In other respects, however, 
his description of the Selache applies very fairly to those 
cartilaginous fishes with which he was acquainted. 

The Batos, Aristotle says, is of flat form,1I has a rough 
tail and body,** and buries itself in the sand, to facilitate 
capture of its prey, ft He also speaks of Batis, especially in 
H. A. vi. 0. 10, s. 4, where he mentions its eggs and their 
hair-like filaments. These are the clearest statements 
made by Aristotle about Batos and Batis, which are 
probably the male and female respectively of the thornback 
skate {Baia clavata). The modern Greek name for a skate 
is Bati. 

Besides describing its peculiar gill coverings, already 
discussed in Chapter xi., Aristotle says that the Batrachos 
has a spiny head, very rough, and many times larger than 
the rest of its body, t + and that its tail and adjacent parts 
of its body are more fleshy to compensate for the small 
amount of flesh in the front part of its body.§§ He also 
describes, in unmistakable language, its lures and fishing 
habits. |] II 

The fishing-frog {L ophites piscatoritts), the Batrachos of 

* H. A. vi. c. 10, s. 1 ; P. A. iv. c, 1, 6766 ; G. A. lii. c. 1, 749a. 

f H. A. iii. c. 13, s. 2. I P. A. iv. c. 13, 697a. 

^ Nat. Hist. ix. 40. || H. A. v. c. 9, s. 6. 

IT H. A. V, c. 4, s. 1. 
*- H. A. vi. c. 10, s. 7 ; P. A. iv. c. 13, 697a. 

ft H. A. ix. c. 25, s. 3. +! Gf. A. iii. c. 3, 754a. 

§§ P. A. iv. c. 13, 6956. |||| E. A. ix. c. 25, s. 1. 


the Greeks and Bmia piscatrix of the Romans, is described 
by many other ancient writers, especially Oppian of Cilicia, 
Pliny, and Cicero. Aristotle seems to have included it 
among his Selache partly on account of its sharp and 
rather large teeth, and its tuberculated skin, free from 
scales, and partly because he considered it to be cartila- 
ginous. However, he admits that it is an exceptional 
member of his Selache, for he says that it has covered gills 
and that it is not ovoviviparous. It may be mentioned 
that, with respect to the nature of its skeleton, the fishing- 
frog occupies a position intermediate between the typical 
bony fishes and the cartilaginous fishes. 

The term Galeos is of wide meaning, and includes many 
long, cartilaginous fishes, in contradistinction to the flat 
ones. Aristotle mentions several kinds of Galeos, and 
distinguishes them by names such as asterias, akanthias, 
and leios, having an analogy to the specific names used by 
modern zoologists. 

The smooth dogfish is still called Galeos by modern 
Greeks. Aristotle says, in one passage, that Galeos has 
many pyloric cseca ;* he can scarcely be referring to the 
dogfish here. The name was used, in fact, for more than 
one kind of fish, in several ancient authors, e.g., Archestratus 
speaks of a Galeos caught off Rhodes and sold for not less 
than a thousand Attic drachmae, t This could scarcely be a 
dogfish. Aristotle also uses a group-name, Galeoeides, to 
denote several fishes having affinities with Galeos. In this 
group he included Alopex, Kuon, and Skijlion.X 

In H. A. vi. c. 10, s. 5, Aristotle shows that he knew of 
the existence of placental fishes, for he says that the Galeoi 
(dogfishes) which are called leioi (smooth) have their young 
attached by an umbilical cord to a kind of placenta, and 
that, when taken away, they appear like the embryos in 
quadrupeds (mammals). It is well known that most of the 
species of Mitstelus, and some other cartilaginous fishes, are 
placental ; Aristotle anticipated this modern discovery. 

Aristotle asserts that Narke lies concealed in sand or 
mud, and numbs any fish which comes near it, by some 
means within its body.§ 

This sufficiently clearly shows that Narke is the torpedo. 
Theophrastus, ^lian, and Oppian of Cilicia refer to this 
fish, but exaggerate its powers ; the most interesting 

* H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 13. f Deijm. vii. 44. 

I H. A. vi. c. 10, ss. 4 and 10. § Ibid. is. c. 25, s. 2. 


account of Narke is given, however, in Athenseus, because 
it shovi^s that the fish had been subjected to experimental 
tests. Athenaeus says that, according to Diphilus of 
Laodicea, the shock was not produced by all parts of the 
fish's body, but by certain parts only, and that Diphilus 
proved this by a long series of experiments.* 

The torpedo was one of the food fishes of the Ancients, 
and is represented, with bass and red mullet, on several of the 
Campanian-warefish plates to be seen at the British Museum. 

The Bhine, according to Aristotle, produces seven or 
eight young at a time,t its skin is rough,! and tail large, § 
it catches fish by lying in wait in the sand and attracting 
them by means of lures on its mouth, || and it can change its 
colour to match that of the place where it lives. ^ 

Except that it usually brings forth many more than 
seven or eight young ones at a time, the angel fish {Rliina 
squatina), which is still called Bhina in some parts of 
Greece, seems to be Aristotle's Bhine. 

This name, which means a rasp or file, applies well to 
the angel fish, which has a skin quite rough from the 
presence of a vast number of tubercles. Its tail is com- 
paratively large, it lies in wait for its prey in the manner 
stated by Aristotle, and it has processes or lures on or near 
the upper edge of its mouth. Again, according to Yarrell, 
it seems to show variations of colour corresponding with the 
nature of the ground w^here it is found.** 

The most important statements made by Aristotle about 
the Trijgoii are that it is a flat fish and that its tail is long 
and spiny. ft These and the few other statements made by 
him are not sufficiently precise for the purpose of identifi- 
cation, but it is almost certain that his Trygon is the sting- 
ray {Trygon pastmaca) . Other ancient writers, especially 
iElian, Oppian of Cilicia, and Pliny, describe one of the 
most remarkable features of the Trygon, its caudal spine, 
by means of which it lacerates the flesh of its victim. 
Pliny- says that nothing is so execrable as the radius, 
five inches long, projecting from the tail of the Trygon 
or Pastinaca.X I 

It is said that the sting-ray is still called Trygon at 

* Deipn. vii. 95. f H. A. v. c. 9, s. S. 

X p. A. iv. c. 13, 697a. § H. A. v. c. 4, s. 1. 

II Ibid. ix. c. 25, s. 3. 1! Ihid. ix. c. 25, s. 10. 

"-:=* British Fishes, 1859, vol. ii. p. 538. 
tf P. A. iv. c. 18, 6956. H Nat. Hist. ix. 72. 


Paros.* This is a good instance of the apparent persistence 
of popular names. 

The information given by Aristotle about the rest of his 
Selache is but slight, but his Lamia was probably a large 
species of shark, and his Zygaina was almost certainly the 
hammer-headed shark. 

In the following table are given many of the remaining 
fishes mentioned by Aristotle which can be fairly well 
identified. The name of each fish is followed by the name 
of the species or genus which seems to be particularly 
meant, for it should be remembered that some of the names 
used by Aristotle denoted more than one species, or, in some 
cases, more than one genus. 

Amia {Pelamys sarcla) Kyprinos {Cyprimis) 

Atherine (Atherina) Labrax {Morone lahrax) 

Belone {Syngnathus acus) Muraina (Murcena helena) 

Chelidon {Exocoetiis) Phagros {Pagrus vulgaris) 

Chrysophrys {Pagrus auratus) Perke {Porca fluviatilis) 

Enchelus {Anguilla vulgaris) Skaros [Scarus Cretensis) 

Glanis {Parasilurus aristotelis) Thynnos (Thynmcs) 

Gongros {Conger vulgaris) Trigle {Mullus barbatus) 

Kallionjmos {Uranoscopusscaber) Xiphias {Xiphias gladizis) 
Kestreus {Mugil capita) 

Eleven fishes, some of which are mentioned above, are of 
more than ordinary interest in connection with Aristotle's 
researches on fishes. The eleven fishes referred to are 
Amia, Belone, Ghanne, Erytlirinos, Glanis, Kallionymos, 
Kyprinos, Perke, Phykis, Psetta, and Skaros. 

According to Aristotle, Amia has strong teeth, t and a 
long gall-bladder extending in a zigzag course along the 
whole of its intestine, t These statements are sufficient to 
identify Ainia with one of the bonitos, especially the 
pelamid, Pelamys sarda, Cuv. & Val. Eondelet was the 
first to identify Amia satisfactorily. His drawing repre- 
sents it as a scombroid with numerous sharp teeth and nine 
pairs of bands running obliquely forwards and downwards 
on the sides of its body.§ Compared with the specimens in 
spirits to be seen at the Natural History Museum, South 
Kensington, or with the excellent coloured drawing of 
P. sarda, opposite p. 162 of vol. viii. of Cuvier and 
Valenciennes' Hist. Nat. des Poiss., Rondelet's drawing, 

* Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. of Philadelphia, 1892, p. 240. 

f H. A. ix. c. 25, s. 5. J H. A. ii. c. 11, s. 7 ; P. A. iv. c. 2, G766. 

§ De Pise. Marin. 1654, p. 238. 


evidently intended to be P. sarda, is not good, for the snout 
is too blunt and the bands too highly inclined. The bands 
of P. sarda are, however, subject to variation, and it is 
most probable that Eondelet's Aviia was this fish. 

Aristotle says that Belone is a long fish,* and that it 
splits open to allow its comparatively few but large eggs to 
escape, for a slit is formed under its abdomen, and yet the 
splitting does not kill the fish, for the wound heals again, t 
Although these statements do not correctly describe what 
takes place, it is evident that Belone is one of the pipe fishes, 
such as Syngnathus acus, the eggs of which pass into the 
sub-caudal pouch of the male, and remain there during the 
process of incubation. 

The three fishes Clianne, Erythrinos, and Psetta are 
remarkable because Aristotle seems to have believed that 
they were hermaphrodite. His statements on this subject 
have been discussed in Chapter xiv. 

Aristotle's Glanis has been discussed by many naturalists, 
but it is only comparatively recently that it has been 
satisfactorily identified. In addition to other information 
about this fish, Aristotle says that its tail is like that of a 
water-newt, I that its gall-bladder is close to its liver, § that 
it is a freshwater fish depositing large ova, which are 
connected together like those of a frog, that the ova develop 
very slowly and are guarded by the male fish, which some- 
times spoils the fishing-hooks with its hard teeth, and that 
the large Glanides spawn in deep water, but the smaller 
ones in shallow water, near the roots of a willow, or among 
reeds and 

Clearly, Aristotle's Glanis is a siluroid fish. Pliny, 
Artedi, Bloch, and Cuvier identified it with the well-known 
Silurus glanis. Cuvier entertained no doubt about the 
correctness of this identification and pointed out that, at 
Constantinople, S. glanis was called Glanos or Glano.5l On 
the other hand, Gesner was of opinion that the wels {S. 
glanis) was unknown to Aristotle, and he identified Glanis 
with a smaller species of Silurus** Several centuries after 
Gesner's time, Agassiz, who had considerable experience of 

* H. A. ii. c, 11, s. 7. 

t H. A. vi. c. 12, s. 4, vi. c. 16, s. 4 ; G. A. iii. c. 4, 755a. 
X H.A.i.c. 5, s. 3. § Ihid. ii. c. 11, s. 7. 

II H. A. vi. c. 13, ss. 2, 4, and 5, ix. c. 25, s. 6. 
11 Hist. Nat. des Poiss. xiv. p. 344. 
** Nomencl. Aquat. Anim. 1560, p. 319. 


Silurus glanis of Central Europe, and was not disposed to 
accept Cuvier's identification, obtained six specimens of a 
siluroid, new to ichthyologists, from the Achelous, in 
western Greece. 

These fishes were labelled with the local name for them, 
Glanidia (plm^al of Glanidi), and, after a careful examin- 
ation, Agassiz concluded that they were the same as 
Aristotle's Glanis, agreeing with this in the form of the 
anal fin, the nature of the gills, the position of the gall- 
bladder, the connected spawn, and other characters.* 

Agassiz gave the name Glanis aristotelis to this siluroid, 
but it is more usually called Parasilurus aristotelis. 1 have 
not been able to see a specimen of this fish, but a good 
description, with drawings, is given by T. Gill, who states 
that it watches over its eggs, which Silurus glanis does not, 
that it has four barbels, whereas S. glanis has six, and that 
it has fewer rays in its anal fin.i 

The Kallionymos, which lives near the shore,! and has 
a gall-bladder relatively larger than that of any other fish,§ 
is clearly the star-gazer {TJranoscopus scaher). Pliny says 
that the Callionymus, which has more gall than any other 
fish, is also called Uranoscopos, from the position of its eyes.H 
The presence of a very large gall-bladder in Kallionymos 
was so well known that this fish was commonly referred to 
in passages descriptive of excessive anger. ^ The gall- 
bladder of the star-gazer is very large, and, according to 
Cuvier and Valenciennes,** shaped like a long-necked phial, 
with a duct as large as the fish's duodenum. 

Aristotle's statements about the fleshy palate of 
Kyprinos,-^} about its being a river fish, It and about its 
great fecundity, §§ clearly show that he is referring to the 
carp. His statements about this fish are, in fact, far more 
valuable than those made by other ancient authors. 

Under the name Perke, Aristotle included both fresh- 
water and sea perches, and it is only in a few passages that 
it is clear to which he refers. The freshwater perch is 
clearly referred to in H. A. vi. c. 13, s. 2, where he says 

* Proc. Amer. Acad, of Arts and ScL, vol. iii. 1857, pp. 825-34. 
f Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 
1906, pp. 436-9. 

I H. A. viii. c. 15, s. 1. § Ihid. ii. c. 11, s. 7. 

II Nat. Hist, xxxii. 24. 11 ^lian, De Nat. Anim. xiii 4. 
** Hist. Nat. des Poiss. iii. p. 297. 

ft H. A. iv. c. 8, s. 4 ; P. A. ii. c. 17, 6606. 

II Ibid. §§ H. A. vi. c. 13, ss. 1 and 6. 


that its ova, connected together Hke those of frogs, are 
deposited among reeds in rivers and ponds. 

Nest-making fishes are well known. The first record of 
fishes of this kind was made by Aristotle. In fl^. A. viii. 
c. 29, s. 3, he says that Phykis is the only sea-fish, " so they 
say," which makes nests and rears its young in them. The 
word used by him for " nest " is JTj^a?, which means a bed 
of leaves or reeds. The fish referred to appears to be one 
of the gobies, the males of which guard the eggs, previously 
deposited by the females, beneath stones or aquatic plants 
or the concave parts of cockle or other shells. 

According to Aristotle, Skaros was the only fish which 
seemed to ruminate,* its food was seaweed, t and its teeth 
were not sharp and interlocking like those of other fishes. I 
From Athenseus, Deipii. vii. 113, it seems that Skaros was 
not easily caught. Oppian of Cilicia applies to it the epithets 
stiktos (variegated), hallos (dappled), and glagoeis (milky). § 
Marcellus of Sida calls it anthemoeis (flowery). || Martial 
says in effect that the viscera of Scarus were of better 
flavour than the rest of this fish,T^ and that it was caught 
by means of a hook baited with a fly.** Other ancient 
writers, ^lian, Ovid, Horace, and Pliny, refer to Skaros or 
Scarus, but the passages cited above are those of most 

Many naturalists have tried to identify Aristotle's fish. 
Rondelet says that it is like a sargo in shape, fins, and spines, 
and that it used to be sold by some fishermen for SargoA'^ 
Belon says that it is very common off the Cretan coasts. X X 
Under the name Scarus Cretensis, Aldrovandi gives a 
drawing of a fish with a long dorsal fin, large scales, and 
deep saw-edged jaws. §§ His fish is evidently a parrot- 
wrasse, but his description is of little value. Availing 
himself of the fact that Skaros is the modern Greek name 
for a fish which is very common off the Cretan coasts, 
Cuvier obtained, with the assistance of Count de Chabrol, 
French Minister of Marine, in 1827, three of these fishes. 
In Cuvier and Valenciennes' great work, which was con- 
tinued by Valenciennes after Cuvier's death, a belief is 

- H. A. ii. c. 12, s. 13, viii. c. 4, s. 4; P. A. iii. c. 14, 675a. 

f H. A. viii. c. 4, s. 1. X Ibid. ii. c. 9, s. 5. 

§ Ralieut. iv. 41, 88 and 113. || De Medic, e Pise, line 19. 

11 Epigr. xiii. 84. ** Ibid. v. 18. 

f I De Pise. Marin. 1554, p. 164. 
\X Lss Observ. do., en Grece, Asie, Sc., 1553, i. c. 8. 
§§ Z)e Pise. 1613, p. 8. 


expressed that these fishes were the same as Aristotle's 
Skaros and nearly the same as Aldrovandi's Scarus Cretensis* 
This belief was strengthened by a description of the Skaros 
of Crete, given by M. Le Mesle, in command of the 
' Cuirassier,' on which the fishes examined by Cuvier were 
taken to Toulon. The value of this description is greater, 
because it was made without regard for what the Ancients said 
of their Skaros. According to M. Le Mesle, it is called Skaro 
from its leaping mode of progression, it plays about among 
rocks in the midst of seaweeds and other plants on which it 
feeds, it can be caught only after some experience, being very 
difficult to take with the line, its flavour is excellent, and 
the Turks call it " red fish " or " blue fish," according to its 
play of colours.! Cuvier was also informed by M. Pouque- 
ville that the Greeks made a sauce from the liver and 
intestines of the Skaro, I a statement which explains to some 
extent the passage already given from Martial. 

With respect to the so-called ruminating habits of Skaros, 
there seems to be a misunderstanding. Aristotle says that 
it appears to ruminate, and it is only some later writers, like 
Oppian and Pliny, who assert that it ruminates. The idea 
of rumination by the parrot-wrasse (Scariis Cretensis), which 
is clearly the Skaros of the Ancients, probably arose from 
its grazing or cropping off marine plants and grinding them 
down by a process lasting some time. It may be mentioned 
that Darwin, Wallace, and others who describe the feeding 
habits of various species of Scams, many of which feed on 
corals, employ the words " browsing " and " grazing." 

A large number of species of reptiles and amphibians 
exists in Greece. Thirty-one species were recorded in 1832 
by the members of the French Scientific Expedition to the 
Morea. Aristotle describes or mentions not less than fifteen; 
he also describes a few not found in Greece. 

His Ghelone included Testudo grceca and T. marginata, 
two common land-tortoises of Greece, and also Thalassochelys 
caretta, the loggerhead of the Mediterranean; this he calls 
Ghelone thalattia. His description of the habits of this 
turtle is not quite accurate, but he knew that it leaves the 
water to deposit its eggs, burying them in the earth, § and 
that it has powerful jaws enabling it to crunch the shells of 
molluscs. II 

■■■ Hist. Nat. des Poiss. xiv. pp. 148-9. f Op. cit. pp. 149-150. 
\ Op. cit. p. 151. I H.A. V. c. 27, s. 1. 

II Ibid. viii. c. 3, s. 4. 


Aristotle's Emys seems to be the European pond-tortoise 
{Emys orbicularis). According to him, it is a small water- 
tortoise,* but no passage in his works seems to state that it 
is a freshwater animal. That it is so may be inferred from 
H. A. Y. c. 27, s. 1, for, after describing how E7n7js deposits 
its eggs in a hole in dry ground, Aristotle follows with a 
short but separate description of marine tortoises. Pliny 
clearly states that freshwater tortoises were called Emydes 
by some Greek authors. t 

The Nile crocodile is mentioned by Aristotle in several 
passages, but he gives nothing of importance beyond the 
information given by Herodotus. 

The gecko, probably Hemidactylus turcicus, and other 
species, is clearly indicated by Aristotle, who calls it 
Askalabotes. He says that it can walk on trees in any 
position, even below the branches,! and that it eats spiders. § 
Just as, at the present day, the bite of the gecko in some 
parts of southern Europe is considered to be poisonous, or 
even fatal, Aristotle says that in some parts of Italy the bite 
of the Askalabotes is fatal. || Geckos are quite harmless, 
although their appearance is not inviting, and their food 
chiefly consists of spiders, flies, and moths. 

Perhaps no reptiles were better known by Aristotle than 
the chamseleons. He probably saw many of them in western 
Asia, and it is evident that he dissected them. Some in- 
teresting statements relating to the anatomy of the chamae- 
leon have been discussed in Chapters x.-xii. The rest of the 
statements made by Aristotle, in H. A. ii. c. 7, and P. A. iv. 
0. 11, are too numerous to be cited at length, and a selection 
only will be given. He saj^s that it has a very long tail 
tapering to a point and much twisted, like a thong. IT The 
outer part of each of its front feet, he says, is divided into 
two toes, and the inner part into three ; the inner part of 
each hind foot is divided into two toes, and the outer part 
into three.** This description agrees with the peculiar 
arrangements of the toes of a chamseleon, but an error seems 
to occur, hror for Uros, in Schneider's Greek text. 

Aristotle gives a good description of the eyes of a 
chamseleon and a short account of their movements, ft 
but, strangely enough, does not point out that each eye can 

■-'= H. A. viii. c. 2, s. 2. f Nat. Hist, xxxii. 14. 

I H. A. ix. c. 10, s. 2. § Ibid. ix. c. 2, s. 5. 

II Ibid. viii. c. 28, s. 2. IT Ibid. ii. c. 7, s. 1. 
-- Ibid. ii. c. 7, s. 2. f f Ibid. ii. c. 7, s. 3. 


move independently of the other. When the outer skin of 
the eye of a chamseleon is removed, he says, a shining body, 
like a small bronze ring, is exposed.* This refers to the 
iris, which is seen, after removal of the skin, as a bronze- 
like ring surrounded by a series of radial bands with black 
pigment about their outer ends. 

The change of colour of a chamaeleon, Aristotle says, 
takes place when it is puffied out, and it exhibits a dark 
colour, not very different from that of a crocodile, and a pale 
colour, not unlike that of some lizards, variegated with dark 
parts, like that of a leopard. This change takes place, he 
adds, over the whole of its body, for its eyes and tail change 
like the rest of its body, but, when dying, it becomes of a 
pale colour, and so it remains after death.! 

It is true that a marked puffing-out is noticeable when a 
chamaeleon changes colour, during a state of agitation. The 
changes of colour are due, however, to the shifting of pigment 
granules towards or away from the epidermal layer, in 
branches of chromatophores beneath the skin. These 
changes of colour, as Prof. Poulton of Oxford suggested to 
me, might be compared with blushing. Aristotle's de- 
scription of the various changes of colour is not clear. They 
depend to a large extent on the state of a chamaeleon as 
regards fear or anger, sleeping and waking, the colours of 
surrounding objects, the brightness of the light, and the 
temperature. One which I had some time ago was nearly 
white, when terrified, except for some brownish spots, and, 
when asleep, its colour was much the same, but greyish 
instead of nearly white. When among trees and bushes it 
gradually assumed a greenish colour, with brown spots, but, 
when angry, it drew in large quantities of air, blowing itself 
out, hissing, and becoming nearly black. The changes of 
colour occurred over all parts of the body, except that the 
under parts, and especially the parts between the legs, were 
not nearly so sensitive as the upper parts. 

The colour of the common chamaeleon, after death, is 
usually yellowish-white, but one chamaeleon, after death by 
chloroform, was black, except on the under parts between 
the legs. Prof. Poulton says that one chamaeleon, which 
died a natural death, was of the usual light colour after 
death, but dark before it died. 

Aristotle says that the viper, which he sometimes denotes 

* H. A. ii. c. 7, s. 5. f Ihid. ii. c. 7, ss. 3 and 4. 


by the masculine form Echis, sometimes by the feminine 
form Echidna, is the only snake which is ovoviviparous.* 
Vipers bring forth their young alive, and under the name 
Echis or Echidna may be included the common viper {Vipera 
berus), the southern viper (F. aspis), and the sand viper (F. 
anwiodytes) , which is said to be in the East what the common 
viper is in the West.t 

Aristotle records the popular belief that the Salamandra, 
probably the common spotted Salamander {Salamandy^a 
maculosa) of southern Europe, puts out a fire if it walks 
over it.t 

One amphibian, the Kordylos, mentioned by Aristotle, is 
difficult to identify. He says that it is an amphibious 
quadruped having gills but no lungs, and obtaining its food 
on dry land,§ that it lives in marshes, || and that it has a 
thin, flat tail,^ which is like that of Glanis {Parasilurus 
aristotelis) , to compare a small thing with a large one.** 

Gesner and Belon seem to have believed that Kordylos 
was a water newt. Cuvier says : — " It is clear that these 
characters," referring to those of Kordylos, " can belong 
only to the larva of the water newt, as M. Schneider has 
very well seen." ft Sundevall considers that Aristotle's 
animal is one of the water newts, and says that on each side 
of the back part of the head of Triton palustris there is an 
indication of the former existence of the gill slit in the 
presence of a fold of rather tender skin, and that an ap- 
pearance such as this may have deceived Aristotle, X X 

No animal with which Aristotle can reasonably be sup- 
posed to have been acquainted serves as a good identification 
of his Kordylos. The tadpoles of water newts, although 
they have during certain stages of their development external 
gills and four legs, do not go on dry land to obtain food, and 
the tadpoles of frogs have no branchial apertures when their 
front legs project beneath the skin. Aristotle seems to have 
misunderstood the nature of the respiratory organs of water 
newts, and his Kordylos is probably one of these. 

Among the other reptiles and amphibians described or 
mentioned by Aristotle are J5a^r(xc7i0s (the hog), Phryne (the 

- H. A. i. c. 0, s. 2, iii. c. 1, s. 14, v. c. 28 ; G. A. i. c. 10. 
f Exped. Sci. de Moree, 1836, vol. iii. part 1, p. 74. 

I H. A. V. c. 17, s. 13. ^ H.A. viii. c. 2, s. 5 ; De Respir. c. 10, 476a. 

II H. A. i. c. 1, s. 7. it P. ^. iv. c. 13, 695&. =•■- H. A. i. c. 5, s. 3. 
f f Le Begn. Anim. Paris, 836-7, Note on p. 47 of vol. on " Reptiles." 
\\ Die Thierarten des Aristoteles, 1863, p. 187. 


toad) , Tijphlines (the blind-worm) , Hydros (the grass-snake) , 
and Saura, which included the wall and other lizards. In 
H. A. i. c. 5, s. 4, he says that some say that there are 
winged snakes in Ethiopia. This report probably originated 
from the ancient representations of winged snakes, such as, 
for instance, those on certain Egyptian mummy cases, some 
of which, from Edfu, Thebes, and other places, may be seen 
in the Egyptian Kooms of the British Museum. Herodotus 
also refers to the reported existence of snakes, with wings 
like those of a bat, in Arabia.* All the representations 
referred to above, in the Egyptian Rooms, show snakes with 
feathered wings ; there does not seem to be one with wings 
like those of a bat. 

About one hundred and seventy birds are described or 
mentioned by Aristotle. Only a comparatively small number 
of these can be identified satisfactorily. 

His Gampsomjches included eagles, hawks, kites, ospreys, 
owls, and vultures. He refers to them in many passages, 
and says that they are carnivorous birds with hooked beaks 
and claws, keen-sighted eyes, and well-developed breasts and 

Owls were so well known at Athens that to take one 
there was a useless act,t something like carrying coals to 
Newcastle. It is not surprising that Aristotle often refers 
to them. He uses not less than seven names denoting at 
least seven different kinds of owls. One of these names, Glaux, 
is sometimes used to denote owls in general, but the kind to 
which it seems specially to refer is the little owl {Strix 
noctua), sacred to Athene. The Skops which, Aristotle says, 
is smaller than the Glaux, | is probably the common scops 
owl. He clearly refers to the eared owls, for he says that 
Otos, which some call Nyktikorax, is like Glaux, but has 
feathers near its ears.§ 

Among diurnal birds of prey may be specially mentioned 
Aristotle's Kenchris, Haliaietos, and Ihtinos. The kestrel 
seems to be referred to in his statements that Kenchris 
lays four or more eggs, which is more than those of other 
birds of its kind, and that the eggs are ochre-coloured or 
reddish-brown. II The statement about the number of 
eggs is substantially true of the hawks and other diurnal 
birds of prey, most of which lay two, three, or four eggs. 

- ii. 75, 76, iii. 109. f Aristoph. The Birds, 301. 

I H. A. viii. c. 5, s. 2. § Ihid. viii. c. 14, s. 6. 

Ii Ihid. vi. c. 1, s. 2, vi. c. 2, s. 2. 



The kestrel lays four, JEive, or sometimes six eggs, usually 
mottled or blotched with reddish-brown. 

The Haliaietos or sea eagle, according to Aristotle, has a 
large, thick neck, curved wings, and broad tail,* and it lives 
near the coast and strikes down water birds.! He relates a 
popular belief that the old birds kill any of their young ones 
which are unable to gaze on the sun before they are fledged. | 

Aristotle gives very little information about the kite, 
which he calls Iktinos. He says that its young ones are 
usually two, sometimes three, or, in the ^tolian kites, four 
in number, and that the period of incubation is twenty days.§ 
His estimate of the number of young ones is rather too low, 
for the kite usually has three or four. The period of in- 
cubation of the kite I do not know. 

The Steganopodes, or web-footed birds, which can be 
identified, are Kyhios (the swan), Che7i (the goose), Netta 
(the wild duck), and Laros, which includes sea-gulls and 
terns, while those which cannot be so well identified comprise 
Kolymhis, Boskas, and Aithyia. \\ 

The Kolymhis is of special interest in connection with 
Aristotle's views on the structure of the feet of his Stegano- 
podes. He includes Kolymhis among the heavier birds, 
living in the vicinity of rivers and lakes, H and he probably 
had it in mind in P. ^. iv. c. 12, 693a. and 6946, where he 
says that birds which have their toes separated, but flattened, 
belong to the same group as web-footed birds, and that some 
swimming birds are fully web-footed, while others have their 
toes separated from one another, but there is an expansion 
along the whole length of each toe, something like an oar- 

■ Avisioile's Kolymhis seems to be a grebe, viz., the great 
crested grebe {Podicipes cristatus) , which frequents the fresh 
waters of Greece, Turkey, and Asia Minor, is one of the 
web-footed birds, according to Aristotle's definition, and may 
be included among the heavier water birds, for its total 
length is nearly two feet, although its body is not larger 
than that of a wild duck of moderate size. Dionysius makes 
statements about Kolymhos (probably another name for 
Kolymhis) , which are quite consistent with the aquatic habits 

* H. A. ix. c. 22, s. 3. f Ibid. ix. c. 23, s. 3. 

\ Ibid. § Ibid. vi. c. G, s. 2. 

II See also an article by mo entitled " On the Identification of some 
of the Birds mentioned by Aristotle," in The Zoologist, 1903, pp. 241-53, 
H H. A. viii. c. 5, s. 8. 


of the great crested grebe. He says that it is almost always 
afloat, and that it swims against the winds so that it may 
not be driven unwillingly to land.* 

The great crested grebe is emphatically in its element 
on the water, and, during windy weather, I have seen this 
bird, on the Tring reservoirs, swimming out against wind 
and waves with evident enjoyment, while coots and other 
birds were in smoother water. The little grebe or dabchick 
is clearly described in Athenaeus,t as the little Kolymhis. 

All that Aristotle says about Boskas is that it is one of 
the heavier web-footed birds living in the vicinity of rivers 
and lakes, and that it is like a duck, but smaller. | This is 
not sufficient to identify it, but, making use of the characters, 
given in Athenseus to the male Boskas, viz., short beak and 
pencilled plumage, § the Boskas has been supposed to be the 
wigeon or the common teal. 

From the scanty information given by Aristotle about 
Aithyia, it seems that it is a sea-bird which hatches out two 
or three young ones, among the rocks, in early spring, that 
it does not migrate, and that it feeds on animals washed 
ashore. |i A bird, called Aithyia, is described by Dionysius,1T 
and referred to by Homer, Arrian, ^sop, Theophrastus, 
^lian, Athenaeus, and Hesychius, and what appears to be 
the same bird is described by Horace, Virgil, and Pliny 
under the name Mergus. These descriptions and references 
are consistent with its being a voracious sea-bird, more es- 
pecially a gull. Many attempts have been made to identify 
AitJujia. William Turner, Dean of Wells, identifies it with 
a cormorant.** Gesner seems to consider it to be a goos- 
ander, or a Belon identifies Aithyia with a bird to 
which he assigns many features, some of which are to be 
found in the razor-bill, and his drawing of Aithyia represents 
a web-footed bird, without the first toe, and with a well- 
developed beak. 1 1 Sundevall argues that Aithyia is a gull, § § 
and D'Arcy W. Thompson says it is probably a large gull, 
e.g., L. marinus or L. argentatus (the herring gull).|i|| 

Excepting the herring-gulls, the birds mentioned above 

* Ixeutica, ii, 12. f Deijm. ix. 52. 

:J; H. A. viii. c. 5, s. 8. § Deijm. ix. 52. 

II H. A. V. c. 8, s. 4, viii. c. 5, s. 7. H Ixeutica, ii. 5. 
■■■'■'■'• Avium . . . apud Plin. et Arisfot. . . . Historia, 1544, not paged. 
If Hist. Anini. iii. 1555, p. 119. 

l\ L'Hist. de la Natitr. des Oyseaux, 1555, pp. 179-80. 
§§ Die Thierarten des Aristoteles, 1863, p. 158. 
III! Glossary of GreeJc Birds, 1895, p. 17. 


do not furnish an identification at all satisfactory, for they 
are either very rare in Grecian waters, or they differ from 
Aitliyia in breeding habits, or in the nature of their food, 
and, among the herring-gulls, that which furnishes the best 
identification is the one considered by some to be a distinct 
species, viz., L. leucophcBus (the yellow-legged herring gull). 
This bird is very common in Greece, and nests among the 
rocks rather early in spring. It is described in Sharpe and 
Dresser's Birds of Europe, 1871-81, vol. 8, where it is 
stated (Seebohm's notes being quoted) that this is almost 
the only kind of gull met with in the Mediterranean, both 
in spring and summer, and that Seebohm visited some 
breeding places of this bird in the Isle of Makree, and, from 
what he saw, concluded that it must have had eggs about 
the middle of April. 

The Peristeroeide of Aristotle include Peristera (the 
domestic pigeon), Phatta (the wood pigeon, still called 
Phassa or Phatta in modern Greece), Oinas (the rock 
pigeon), and Trygon (the turtle dove, still called Trygon in 
modern Greece). His statements about these birds are 
numerous, and some only, relating to Phatta and Trygon, 
will be considered. 

Aristotle says that Phatta is the largest and Trygon the 
smallest of his Peristeroeide.* According to him, the Try- 
gon is never seen in Greece during the winter, but only in 
summer, and this he explains by its migrating to and from 
Greece and also by its hiding itself, t The turtle dove is a 
particularly good example of a summer migrant. It arrives 
in Greece in April, and leaves in August. + His statements 
about Phatta are inconsistent, for he says that it is always 
seen in Greece,§ and that it does not winter there. || 

Referring to the autumnal disappearance of birds gene- 
rally, Aristotle says that they do not all migrate to warm 
regions, as some say, but those which are near the regions 
where birds of their own kind are always found, migrate 
thither, while some which are far away from the regions 
where birds of their own kind are always found, do not 
migrate, but hide themselves, IT This erroneous view about 
migrations was held for many centuries after Aristotle's time, 
and is still to be found as a popular belief. 

■'- H. A. V. c. 11, s.'.2. f Ibid. viii. c. 5, s. 5, viii. c. 14, s. 5, viii. c. 18. 
I Sharpe and Dresser's Birds of Europe, 1871-81, vol. 7. Section 
on Turtur vulgaris. 

§ H. A. viii. c. 5, s. 5. || Ibid. viii. c. 14, s. 6. H Ibid. viii. c. 18. 


He states that the Peristeroeide usually lay two eggs, 
but Phatta and Trijgon generally lay three.* This last 
statement is incorrect ; there seems to be no record of birds 
of the pigeon family laying more than two eggs. 

A small group of birds, the Apodes of Aristotle, so called 
because of their abnormally small or weak feet, includes 
Chelidon (the swallow), Apous or Kypsellos (the swift and 
house-martin), and Drepanis (the sand-martin). 

Aristotle gives an important character of Apous or 
Kypsellos, viz., that its metatarsus is feathered, t but he gives 
very little information about Drepanis, and Pliny and other 
ancient writers render no assistance in identifying this bird. 
The Drepanis, according to Aristotle, is closely allied to 
Apous, and is seen and caught when it rains in summer, but 
is a rare bird, on the whole.! 

Belon and Gesner identified Drepanis with the sand- 
martin, but, during comparatively recent years, there has 
been an inclination to identify it with the Alpine swift 
{Cypselus melha). This is not a good identification, and there 
does not seem to be sufficient reason to abandon Belon and 
Gesner's conclusion. 

The name Drepanis (from Drepane, a sickle) does not give 
much assistance ; it may refer to the shape of the wings, 
and would then favour the identification of Drepanis with 
the Alpine swift, or it may refer to the long, curved, hind 
claw of the sand-martin. It seems likely, however, that the 
Alpine swift, with its very short feet and feathered metatarsus, 
should be included with the common swift (C. apus), under 
the name Apous. Again, Aristotle's assertions about Drepanis 
do not appear to be consistent with the view that it is the 
Alpine swift, for this bird is very common in Greece, through- 
out the breeding season, and, according to Von der Miihle, 
is sold in large quantities in the Grecian markets. § 

The sand-martin, which is somewhat rare in Greece, is 
said to breed in the banks of the Alpheus and the Eurotas, 
and to be seen in summer. It would be seen more especially 
after rains, and its stay in Greece is known to be compara- 
tively short. All these considerations tend to show that 
Drepanis is the sand-martin. In his letter, previously 
referred to, Mr. G. C. Zervos expresses his opinion that 

* H. A. vi. c. 4, s. 1. f Ihid. ix. c. 21, s. 1. 

I Ihid. i. c. 1, 8. 9. 
§ Sharpe and Dresser's Birds of Europe^ 1871-81, vol. 4. Section on 
Cypselus melba. 


Brepanis was the name given by the ancient Greeks to the 

The name Kiclile is used by Aristotle for any kind of 
thrush. He says that the Kichlai build their nests in 
proximity to one another in tree tops, and that they make 
them of mud.* This description seems to apply best to the 
fieldfares, which nest in colonies, usually at a good height 
in trees, and, like some other thrushes, use mud in making 
their nests. He also says that there are three kinds of 
Kichlai, one of which, called Ixoboros, feeds on mistletoe 
and resin, t This bird is evidently intended to be the missel 
thrush. Aristotle says that Ixoboros is about as large as 
Kitta. X The common jay, which seems to be the Kitta, is 
somewhat larger than the missel thrush. 

Aristotle says that there is a bird living among the rocks, 
especially in Scyros, and called Kyanos, or blue bird, that it 
is smaller than the Kottyphos, or blackbird, but larger than 
the Spiza (chaffinch?), that it is quite blue, and that its 
beak is long and smooth, its legs short, and its feet black. § 

This description applies very well to the male blue rock 
thrush, which is common in Greece and, apparently, the 
Greek Isles. 

Under the name Aigithalos, Aristotle included the tits, 
and says that they are insectivorous and lay more eggs than 
other birds. II There are, he says, three kinds, viz., the 
Spizites, which is the largest and about as large as Spiza 
(apparently the chaffinch), the Orelnos, which lives in 
mountainous places and has a long tail, and a third which is 
very small. ^ 

Spizites and Oreinos are evidently the great tit {Pariis 
major) and a long-tailed tit, e.g., Acredula caudata, re- 
spectively. It is not possible to determine what the very 
small tit is intended to be ; Sundevall identified it with the 
marsh tit {Parus palustris).^* 

Aristotle clearly refers to the nightingale, which he calls 
Aedon, the name which is still given to it by modern Greeks. 
The statements Aristotle makes about the nightingale, even 
about its song, are of but little importance, and his assertion 
that both the male and female sing ft is incorrect. This 

-1= H. A. vi. c. 1, s. 3. -f- Ihid. is. c. 18, s. 2. 

I Ihid. § Ibid. ix. c. 18, s. 3. 

II Ibid. viii. c. 5, s. 3, ix. c. 16, s. 1. 11 Ibid. viii. c. 5, s. 3. 
** Die Thierarten des Aristotcles, 1863, p. 115. 

•j-f H. A. iv. c. 9, s. 7. 


error arose perhaps from the ancient popular behef about 
the origin of the nightingale, by the metamorphosis of an 
Athenian princess, Philomela, into a nightingale, or from 
failure to determine the sex of the singer. It is in Aristo- 
phanes that full justice is done to its song, the character 
representing the nightingale being called upon by the hoopoe, 
the king of the birds, to imitate the divine and entrancing 
notes of the nightingale by giving a flute solo.* 

The Epops, according to Aristotle, lives in woody and 
mountainous regions, t and does not build a nest, but lays its 
eggs in a hollow tree. + This bird is the hoopoe. It frequents 
woods and open country which is not devoid of trees or bushes, 
but Aristotle's assertion that the Epops lives in mountain- 
ous regions seems to be quite true of the hoopoes of Turkey, 
for, in the Section on the Hoopoe, in vol. 5 of Sharpe and 
Dresser's Birds of Europe, the following statement by Mr. 
Kobson of Ortakeuy is quoted : — " In Turkey, where the 
vernacular name signifies ' Mountain Cock,' they are most 
partial to the sides of mountains, although often found in 
the valleys." 

The wryneck is sufficiently clearly indicated by Aristotle, 
who calls it lynx, and says that it has dappled plumage, a 
long extensible tongue, and two toes directed forwards and 
two backwards, and that it hisses and turns its neck back- 
wards, like a snake, while its body remains still. § He also 
says that lynx is a little larger than 8piza.\\ It is uncertain 
to what bird the name Spiza refers, but it is probable that a 
chaffinch is meant. 

The insectivorous habits of the woodpecker, called by 
him Dryokolaptes, which means " one that makes holes in 
trees," are sufficiently clearly described by Aristotle, but he 
incorrectly states that its tongue is flat.H He refers to 
three kinds of woodpeckers, one of which may be the great 
black woodpecker {Picus martins) ; this kind, he says, is 
not much smaller than a domestic hen, and feeds on ants 
and larvae.** A certain tame bird, he says, of this kind 
was known to place an almond in a chink in wood, and then 
break it at the third stroke of its bill, in order to get at the 
kernel, ft 

Aristotle's statements about the cuckoo are of much 

* The Birds, 202-22. j H. A. ix. c. 12, s. 3. 

I Ibid. vi. c. 1, s. 3, § Ibid. ii. c. 8, s. 2 ; P. A. iv. c. 12, 695a. 

II Ibid. ii. c. 8, s. 2. *F Ibid. ix. c. 10, s. 2. 
** Ibid. tf Ibid. 


interest. He argues strongly against the opinion, which, he 
says, was held by some, that this bird was a kind of hawk.* 
The cuckoo (Kokkyx), he says, does not make a nest, but 
lays one or sometimes two eggs in the nest of some other 
bird, which hatches out and brings up its foster young, t 
He mentions the following foster-parents : — Hijpolais (the 
hedge-sparrow, apparently), Korydos (the skylark), Chloris 
(the greenfinch, probably), and Phaps, which seems to be 
some kind of pigeon. 

The hedge-sparrow is commonly and the skylark occasi- 
onally a foster-parent to the young of the cuckoo. Eecords 
of cuckoo's eggs being deposited in the nests of the green- 
finch and the wood pigeon have also been made, according 
to Sharpe and Dresser. I 

Aristotle says that the cuckoo, when depositing its egg, 
devours the eggs of the foster-mother, § This seems to be 
the only passage in which he expresses his own opinion on 
the fate of the eggs or young of the foster-mother. He also 
records the opinions of others on this subject. These opinions 
were : (1) that the young cuckoo ejects the young of the 
foster-parents; (2) that the foster-mother kills its own young; 
(3) that the old cuckoo re-visits the nest and kills the young 
of the foster-parents ; (4) that the young cuckoo causes the 
death of the other young ones by appropriating all the food, 
and, (5). that the young cuckoo itself kills the other young 
ones. I! 

It is clear, from (1) above, that, even as far back as the 
time of Aristotle, it was believed that the young cuckoo 
ejected the young of the foster-parents. Aristotle's own 
opinion is not altogether incorrect, for, according to Sharpe 
and Dresser,^ the old cuckoo has been said to destroy the 
eggs of the foster-parents, when depositing its own egg. 
According to the same authorities, the old cuckoo has been 
known to revisit the nest and throw out the young of the 
foster-parents. This agrees with the ancient opinion (3) 
given above. 

It is generally believed that the habit of cuckoos of en- 
trusting the care of their eggs and young to other birds is 
largely due to the short period of their stay in the breeding- 
area not allowing them to hatch out and rear a sufficient 

* H. A. vi. c. 7. f Ibid. vi. c. 7, ss. 2 and 3, ix. c. 20, s, 1. 

I Birds of Europe, 1871-81, vol. 5. Section on Cuculus canorus. 
§ H. A. vi. c. 7, s. 2. II Ibid. ix. c. 20, ss. 1 and 2. 
^ Op. cit. 


number of young ones. Aristotle's view on this question is 
quite different. He explains the habit by saying that 
cuckoos are very timid birds and cannot defend their young, 
but place them under the protection of other birds.* 

He gives information about two birds, which he probably 
never saw, viz., PsittaJce (the parrot) and Strouthos Lihykos 
(the ostrich). 

He says that Psittake is an Indian bird, which is said to 
have a tongue like that of a man, and that it talks most when 

The ostrich, he says, has some of the characters of a bird, 
e.g., it has wings, feathers, and two legs, and some of the 
characters of a quadruped, e.g., it has cloven feet with 
hoofs, " hair-like feathers " which are useless for flight, and 
upper eyelashes, t 

Pliny calls the ostrich Strutliio-camelus, and a popular 
belief in the " bird-quadruped " nature of the ostrich has 
been very persistent, and is said to exist in Arabia. The 
ostrich has two toes on each foot, an inner very large one 
with lateral expansions and a nail, quite unlike a hoof, and 
an outer small toe which is often without a nail. It has 
both upper and lower eyelashes, composed of hair-like 

Aristotle also states that the ostrich lays many eggs,§ 
and does not seem to have knov^n that several hens lay in 
one nest. 

- H. A. ix. c. 20, s. 3. \ Ibid. viii. c. 14, s. 6. 

I P. A. iv. c. 13, 6976. § H. A. ix. c. 16, s. 1 ; G. A. iii. c. 1, 7496. 



BLOOD {continued). 

The best-defined group of Aristotle's Enalma is his 
Kete or Ketode. He says that they are truly viviparous, 
that they have mammge and furnish milk, and that they have 
lungs and a blowhole.* The fish-like forms of these animals, 
and their habit of coming to the surface of the sea to spout 
were known to him,t but he states erroneously that they 
turn on their backs to take their prey, because their mouths, 
like those of his Selache, are on their ventral sides.! 

By his researches on his Kete or Ketode, Aristotle 
achieved an important result, for he clearly distinguished 
them from fishes and from other viviparous animals. The 
word Kete had been used by Homer, Arrian, and other 
writers to denote very large aquatic animals, but Aristotle 
clearly uses it and also Ketode to denote a distinct group. 
He fully deserves the praise accorded by Sir Richard Owen, 
who says : — " The apodal Vivipara, which form the third 
of Aristotle's more comprehensive groups, embraces the 
Ketode, now called Cetacea, and affords, by its position and 
co-ordinates in the great philosopher's zoological system, 
one of the most striking examples of his sagacity and re- 
search." § 

The Kete or Ketode mentioned by Aristotle are DelpJiis, 
Phalaina, Mystiketos, and Phokaina. In the numerous 
passages relating to Delphis, or the dolphin, he refers par- 
ticularly to its well-known carnivorous habits, sportiveness, 
swiftness, and attentiveness to its young. He says also that, 
when it comes to the surface, it squeaks and makes a mur- 
muring noise, li The latter part of this statement is correct, 
for it is known that the dolphin makes a murmuring noise. 

=•- H. A. i. c. 4, s. 1, iii. c. 16, s. 1. 

f H. A. viii. c. 2, s. 3 ; P. A. iv. c. 13, 697a ; De Bespir. c. 12, 4766. 

I H. A. viii. c. 4, s. 4. 

§ Clasnfic. and Qeogr. Distrib. of the Mammalia, Sc, 1859, p. 3. 

il H. A. iv. c. 9, s. 4. 


Aristotle says that the blowhole of DelpJiis is ^'a tow vutou, 
or through its back.* It is practically certain that he is 
referring to the dolphin, although its blowhole is as nearly 
as possible on the same transverse periphery as its eyes. 
In other passages, he states correctly that its blowhole is in 
front of its brain, t 

According to Aristotle, the dolphin brings forth one 
young one, or sometimes two, always in the summer season, 
the period of gestation being ten months ; he also says that 
dolphins have been known to live from twenty-five to thirty 
years, fishermen having ascertained this by cutting the dol- 
phins' tails and then allowing them to escape. I 

These are interesting statements. About the ages of 
dolphins I have no information. With respect to its breed- 
ing habits, it is well known that the common dolphin brings 
forth one young one at a birth. I cannot find a clear state- 
ment about the period of gestation of the common dolphin, 
but Millais states, on the authority of Nansen and Guldberg, 
that the period for the white-sided dolphin is ten months, 
and that the young one is born before or about midsummer. § 

It is difficult to identify Aristotle's Phalaina, for he does 
not give any information about its size or geographical 
distribution, and, apart from information which shows that 
it is a cetacean, merely states that its blowhole is in its 
forehead, and that it usually brings forth two young ones, 
but sometimes only 

It might seem to be reasonable to assume that Aristotle's 
Phalaina is a whale, such as Balceiioptera muscidus, the 
common or Mediterranean rorqual, which often brings 
forth two young ones at a birth. It is more probable, 
however, that the Phalaina is one of the larger dolphins, 
e.g., the killer, Eisso's grampus, or the blackfish, for the 
rorqual is a whalebone whale, and Aristotle seems to use 
another name, Mystiketos, for a whale of this kind. In the 
only passage in which he refers to Mystiketos, he states 
clearly that it has no teeth in its mouth, but hairs like 
boars' bristles. IT 

The Phalainai graphically described by Arrian and 
Strabo, and the BallcBnce of Pliny, were undoubtedly large 

- H. A. i. c. 4, s. 1. 

f P. A. iv. c. 13, 697a. ; De Respir. c. 12, 4766. 

I H. A. vi. c. 11, ss. 1 and 2. 

§ Mammals of Qreat Britain, Sc, vol. iii. 1906, p 339. 

I; E. A. i. c. 4, s. 1, vi. c. 11, s. 1. H Ibid. iii. c. 10, s. 13. 


whales, those described by Arrian, in particular, being the 
whales seen during the voyage of Nearchus from the Indus 
to the Persian Gulf. Two years elapsed between the time 
of that voyage and the death of Aristotle, but there is 
nothing to show that he knew anything of the whales seen 
by Nearchus. 

Aristotle's Phokaina is the porpoise {P1ioc(Bna communis) ^ 
for he says that it is smaller than the dolphin, but relatively 
wider across the back ; he also says that it is like a small 
dolphin, and that some considered it to be a kind of dolphin.* 

The viviparous animals with feet form a group which 
corresponds with the Mammalia, other than the Cetacea. 
Their chief characteristics are, according to Aristotle, that 
they are truly viviparous, that they have hairs, that they 
have mammae and furnish milk, and that they not only have 
lungs, but also an epiglottis, t 

The number of species referred to by Aristotle cannot be 
determined. Not less than sixty-six names are mentioned 
by him, but it is certain that he sometimes applies more 
than one name to one and the same animal, e.g., he calls 
the beaver by the names Latax and Kastor, and, possibly, 
Satyrion and Satherion also. It is also certain that some of 
the names he employs refer to more than one species or even 
genus of animals, e.g., his Kamelos includes both Camelus 
dromedarius and G. bactrianus, his Kehos includes more 
than one genus of monkeys, and his Nykteris more than 
one genus of bats. 

Among his viviparous animals with feet, the Non-Am- 
pJiodo7ita is a fairly well-defined group, and corresponds, 
as far as it goes, with the Buminantia of modern classifi- 
cations. Their distinguishing feature, according to Aristotle, 
is the absence of front teeth in the upper jaws, but he 
erroneously included the camel, which has incisors in the 
upper jaws, as explained in Chapter x. The chief animals 
included by Aristotle among the Non-Amphodonta seem to 
be the following : — oxen of various kinds {Taiiros, Bous) ; 
bison (Bojiassos) ; sheep of various kinds {Ois, Krios, Pro- 
baton) ; goats of various kinds {Tragos, Aix, Chimaira) ; 
oryx {Oryx) ; deer of various kinds {Elaphos, Prox) ; nilgai 
(Hippelaphos) ; camel (Kamelos) ; gazelle (Dorkas), and 
the Pardion. 

- H. A. vi. c. 11, s. 1. 

f H. A. i. c. 4, 3. 1, iii. c. 10, s. 1, iii. c. 16, s. 1 ; G. A. ii. c. 4, 7376 ; 
P. A. iii. c. 8, 6646. 


In numerous passages relating to oxen, sheep, and goats, 
he describes various breeds, their food, diseases, and habits. 
He records the existence of the well-known flat-tailed sheep 
of western Asia, for he says that, in Syria, there are sheep 
with tails a cubit in width.* The goats of Syria, he says, 
have ears about a foot long, and, in some cases, their ears 
hang to the ground ; the goats of Lycia, he adds, are shorn 
just as sheep are in other places.! Aristotle is evidently 
referring to the well-known Syrian goat, which has ex- 
ceptionally long ears, and his Lycian goat is probably the 
well-known Ajigora goat. 

In a long description of Bonassos, Aristotle makes it 
clear that it was a wild, ox-like animal, heavily built, with 
horns nearly nine inches long and turned towards each 
other, that it had a mane from its head to its shoulders, 
and a thick mass of hair extending as far as its eyes, in such 
a way that it could see better sideways than in front, that 
its colour was between ash colour and red or tawny, and 
that it was found in Pseonia.t This animal was evidently 
the European bison. 

Aristotle says that there are no deer in any part of Libya. § 
This is not true. South of the Sahara, no deer are said to 
be found, but, in northern Africa, there are deer, e.g., the 
fallow deer and the Barbary deer. Aristotle seems to have 
copied a precisely equivalent statement from 

In Chapter x. some of Aristotle's statements about the 
horns of Elaphos, the red deer in particular being meant, 
have been discussed. 

The Hippelaphos has been much discussed by naturalists, 
and some have attempted to discover it in territories as far 
apart as Bengal and South Africa. According to Aristotle, 
it was found in Arachosia, was cloven-footed, and furnished 
with a tuft of hair on its throat, and also had a mane ; the 
female was hornless, but the male had horns like those of 
the DorJcas, or gazelle. IT 

Pallas tried to identify this animal with Pliny's Tragela- 
phos, an animal living near the river Phasis.** According to 
Desmarest,ff Allamand attempted to identify it with the gnu 
of South Africa ; it may be mentioned that Allamand was 

'■■• H. A. viii. c. 27, s. 3. f Ibid. viii. c. 27, s. 3, 

I Ibid. ix. c. 32. § Ibid. viii. e. 27, s. 3. 

li iv. 192. if H. A. ii. c. 2, ss. 3 and 4. 

*=•■• Spicilegia Zoolog. Fasciculus Undecimus, 1776, p. 51. 

If Mammalogie, 1822, 2nd part, p. 472. 


one of the first, if not the first, to give a reliable description 
of the gnu. Ciivier attempted to identify the Hlppelaplios 
with the sambhur or black rusa of Bengal, called by him 
Cervus Aristotelis* 

Probably this animal was unknown to Aristotle, and, in 
other respects, the identification is unsatisfactory, e.g., 
Aristotle says that the horns of Hippelaphos are like those 
of Dorkas. Now, the horns of Dorkas, or the gazelle, 
are unbranched, but the sambhur has branched horns. 
Again, the erectile ridges of hair, on the throats of the few 
male sambhurs I have been able to inspect, were not very 

Wiegmann's suggestion that Hlppelaplios is the nilgai 
{Antilope picta, Pallas) t seems to give the best identification. 
The nilgai, called by sportsmen the blue bull, has a mane, 
and a very conspicuous tuft of black hair on its throat. Its 
horns are similar in colour, size, and general form to those 
of many gazelles. On closer comparison, the resemblance 
fails, for the horns of the nilgai are fairly smooth, and their 
basal parts are nearly triangular in cross-section, while the 
horns of the gazelle are more or less oval in cross-section, 
and are corrugated transversely. However, Aristotle's com- 
parison, if not taken too strictly, applies to these animals. 
Further, the female nilgai, like the female Hippelaplios, is 

Finally, the nilgai occurs chiefly in central and northern 
India, its habitat extending towards, though, apparently, not 
including, Arachosia, where the Hippelaphos was found. 

The only information given by Aristotle about Dorkas is 
that its horns and those of Hippelaphos are similar,! and 
that it was the smallest horned animal with which he was 
acquainted. § 

Aristotle's Dorkas, like the Dorkas of Xenophon and 
iElian, was a gazelle. Some gazelles, e.g., the Arabian 
gazelle and the Dorcas gazelle, are small, but horned animals 
much smaller than these are now known, such as, for 
instance, the royal antelope {Neotragus pygmccus), of the Gold 
Coast, which is about ten inches high at the shoulders. 

The well-known belief in the existence of a unicorn is 
very ancient and widespread. The Kylin of China, Aristotle's 
Oryx, and so called " Indian ass," to be referred to again 

■•' Le Begn. Anim. 1836-7, volume on " Mammals," p. 308. 
\ Observ. Zool. Critic. 1826, p. 26. X H. A. ii. c. 2, s. 4. 

§ P. A. hi. c. 2, 6636. 


later, and the mythical unicorn shown on coats-of-arms, are 
representative of such an animal. The Onjx, according to 
Aristotle, has a single horn in the middle of its head, and is 
cloven-footed.* Pliny, probably referring to the same 
animal, says that its hair is directed towards its head, f 

It is probable that the Oryx is the Beisa {Oryx heisa), or 
the sabre-horned antelope (0. leucoryx). That Aristotle saw 
either of these animals is unlikely, and he probably relied on 
descriptions which brought out in relief the remarkable one- 
horned appearance of these animals, when seen sideways. 
Sundevall says that the Oryx is sometimes shown on 
Egyptian sculptures and paintings, so that the two horns 
appear as one. + I have met with but small success in finding 
such representations. In the Memoirs of the Archceological 
Survey of Egypt, 1893-1900, there are several representations 
of one-horned animals, a few of which seem to be Oryxes, 
but these animals are more commonly shown with two 
horns. A very good representation of Oryxes, with both 
horns shown, may be seen, e.g., in the painting called " The 
Farmyard : Feeding the Oryxes." § 

It may be mentioned that Oppian of Syria gives a long 
and interesting description of the Oryx.\\ On the whole, his 
description applies best to Oryx leucoryx. 

In addition to information about the longevity, food, 
diseases, and mode of life of camels, Aristotle says that the 
Arabian camel brings forth but one foal at a birth, and that 
the period of gestation is twelve months.^ The first state- 
ment is quite correct, and the second very nearly so, the 
period of gestation being a little more than twelve months. 
In another passage, he states more erroneously that the 
period of gestation is ten months.** 

Aristotle says that the Pardion or Hij^pardion is a 
cloven-footed wild animal having a mane and horns, tf In 
Schneider's Greek text, the animal is called Pardion, but, 
in the texts of Syllburg, Scaliger, and Camus, it is called 
Hippardion. It may be the giraffe, as Pallas, Sundevall, 
and others believed, for Aristotle may have been acquainted 
with it, by report at least, although it was not well known 

* H. A. ii. c. 2, s. 9 ; P. A. iii. c. 2, 663a. 

I Nat. Hist. viii. 79. 

\ Die Thierarten des Aristofeles, 1863, p. C4. 

§ Beni Hasan, part 1, plate xxvii. Published bj' the Arch. Survey 
of Ef^ypt, London, 1893. 

II Cynegetica, ii. 445-88. II H. A. v. c. 12, s. 13. 
=-:= Ibid. vi. c. 25, s. 1. f f Ihid. ii. c. 2, s 3. 


to the Ancients. Pliny describes it under the names Nabim 
and Gamelopardalis, and says that it was first seen at Eome 
during Csesar's dictatorship.* 

The Monycha described by Aristotle are the horse 
{Hippos), the ass (Onos), the wild ass (Onos agrios), the so- 
called Indian ass {Onos Indikos), the Syrian half-ass {Hejiii- 
onos), the mule {Oreus), the hinny {Hinnos), the ginny 
{Ginnos), and the pigs of Illyria and Pseonia, in which 
syndactylism occurred, as explained already in Chapter x. 

The so called Indian ass was, according to Aristotle, 
solid-footed and one-horned, and the only animal with solid 
hoofs and also a well-formed astragalus.! This animal, the 
description of which was probably taken from Ctesias, was 
a creature of the imagination. Some antelopes, when seen 
sideways, appear to have one horn, and this was probably 
the basis of reports about the Indian ass, communicated to 
Ctesias by visitors from India to the Persian Court, where he 
resided. It is unlikely that the Indian ass was an Indian 
rhinoceros, as some have suggested. Not only does a 
rhinoceros answer very imperfectly to the descriptions, based 
on Ctesias, of the Indian ass, but it is probable that Ctesias 
did not know anything of rhinoceroses, for it seems, from 
what ^lian says, that a rhinoceros was first reported, from 
Ethiopia, by Agatharchides, who lived about B.C. 100.1 

The horse and other equine animals mentioned above 
form one of Aristotle's best-defined groups, the Lophoura, 
distinguished by having a small cranium but long jaws, and 
a mane and tail of long flowing hair.§ 

Aristotle gives a great deal of information about these 
animals, but much of it is of little interest. There are, 
however, in addition to anatomical information already dealt 
with, chiefly in Chapter x., many passages relating to the 
sterility and fertility of equine hybrids. The Ginnos, he 
says, is the offspring of a mule and a mare, but no female 
mule has been known to have offspring. |i In G. ^. ii. c. 7, 
7466, he goes further than this, and says that mules {Oreis) 
are incapable of generating, either among themselves or with 
other animals, and adds that the whole group of Hemionoi 
is sterile. The word Hemionoi in this passage seems to 
be used for mules and like hybrids generally, for he dis- 
tinctly assertsU^ that the Hemionoi of Syria are fertile. 

- Nat. Hist. viii. 27. f H. A. ii. c. 2, s. 9. 

I De Nat. Anim. v. 27. § H. A. i. c. 6, s. 3, i. c. 13, s. 3. 

II Ibid. vi. c. 24, s. 1. IT Ibid. i. c. 6, s. 3, vi. c. 24, s. 1. 



No well-authenticated instances of mules or other hybrids 
of the equine family breeding among themselves seem to 
have been recorded, but the female mule has been known to 
breed with the horse and the ass. The Ancients strongly 
believed in the sterility of mules, and it is related by 
Herodotus that one of the Babylonians expressed surprise at 
the Persians continuing the siege of Babylon, saying that 
they would have to wait till mules brought forth young, but, 
adds Herodotus, in the twentieth month, one of the baggage 
mules of Zopyrus did bring forth a foal.* 

Aristotle speaks of the wild ass and also the half ass of 
Syria {Hemionos) , but it is probable that these are asses of 
one and the same species, the wild ass of western Asia 
{E quits hemionus) . 

The remaining viviparous animals with feet, which 
Aristotle preferred to describe singly, are given in the 
following tables, the first of which includes those animals 
which can be identified satisfactorily, and the second those 
about the identity of which there is much uncertainty. In 
a few instances more than one name is used for the same 

Table I. 

Ailouros (Cat) 

Alopex (Fox) 

Arktos (Bear) 

Aspalax (Mole) 

Dasypous (Hare) 

Echinos (Hedgehog) 

Eleios (Dormouse) 

Ehphas (Elephant) 

Enydris (Otter) 

Gale (Beech Marten) 

Glanos (Hyaena) 

iJipjjos-^JO^a^jizos (Hippopotamus) 

Hyaina (Hyaena) 

Hys (Pig) 

Hystrix (Porcupine) 

Ichneumon (Mongoose) 

Kapros (Boar) 

Table II. 

Kastor (Beaver) 
Kebos (Monkey, tailed) 
Kuo7i (Dog) 
Kynocephalos (Baboon) 
Lagos (Hare) 
Latax (Beaver) 
Leon (Lion) 
Lukos (Wolf) 
Lynx (Lynx) 
Mus (Mouse) 
Nykteris (Bat) 
Panther (Leopard) 
Pardalis (Leopard) 
Phoke (Seal) 
Pithekos (Barbary Ape) 
Thos (Jackal) 

Alopex (Fox-Bat) 
Choiropithekos (Drill) 
Iktis (Weasel) 
Mantichora (Bengal Tiger) 

My gale (Shrew-mouse) 
Satherion (Beaver) 
Satyrion (Beaver) 
Tigris (Tiger) 

* iii. 151-3. 


The statements made by Aristotle about some of these 
animals will be considered. 

Aristotle's Gale and Iktis are closely related, for he says 
that Iktis is like Gale in the thickness of its fur, in its 
appearance, in the whiteness of its under parts, and in its 
cunning disposition ; he also says that it is easily tamed, 
very fond of honey, is about as large as a small Maltese dog, 
and that it eats birds like a cat.* He also says that the 
Gale kills birds by lacerating their throats, just as a wolf 
kills sheep, and that it attacks snakes, especially those 
which, like itself, hunt mice.f 

There are many references in the ancient writers, e.g., 
Aristophanes, from which it is clear that Gale was a domestic 
animal. Prof. Kolleston concluded that Gale was the beech 
marten {Mustela foina), and Ihtis the pine marten (Af. 
martes).l The chief object of his paper is to show that the 
Gale performed for the ancient Greeks the same duties as 
are performed for us by the domestic cat, and this object is 
effected so successfully as to leave no doubt in the mind of 
a reader of the paper. Prof. Rolleston's identification of 
Iktis is less satisfactory. 

Cetti, in J Quadr. di Sardegna, 1774, p. 179, and 
Sundevall, in Die Tliierarten des Aristoteles, 1863, p. 49, 
held that the boccamele or Sardinian weasel {M. hoccamele), 
discovered by Cetti, about the year 1770, was Aristotle's 
Iktis. It kills birds, mice, and other small animals, and is 
said to be easily tamed. The specimens of this animal 
which I have seen at the Natural History Museum, South 
Kensington, are larger than the common weasel and darker 
in colour. Respecting Aristotle's statement that Iktis is fond 
of honey, it is said that the name "boccamele" was given 
to the Sardinian weasel because of its fondness for honey, 
but conclusive evidence about this is not readily obtainable. 
Mr. G. C. Zervos, of Calymnos, informs me that he does not 
know of any weasel of the Greek area notoriously fond of 

In conclusion, the boccamele and the beech marten seem 
to furnish the best identifications of Iktis and Gale, respec- 
tively. According to Mr, G. C. Zervos, modern Greeks 
regard Gale as the " cat " of the ancient Greeks, and Iktis 

* H. A. ix. c. 7, s. 5. f Ihid. ix. c. 7, s. 4. 

I " On the Domestic Cats, Felis domestlca and Mustela foina, of 
Ancient and Modern Times," Science Papers, dc, 1884, 2 vols., Paper 28. 


as the same animal as the modern Greek Nyphitsa, which 
is a weasel or ferret. 

Aristotle credits the lion with much magnanimity and 
courage ; he says, however, that there are two kinds of lions, 
that one of these is not so courageous as the other, and that 
an infuriated boar has been known to put a lion to flight.* 
Like several modern writers, he does not seem to have 
believed that the lion was undoubtedly bold and fierce. 

He asserts that, in his time, lions were found in Europe, 
but only in the territory between the rivers Achelous and 
Nessus.f Herodotus also mentions the existence of lions 
between the Achelous and Nessus. t There are several other 
passages in the ancient authors tending to show that lions 
lived in southern Europe in historic times, but it is not 
known when they became extinct there. 

The Martichora, called Mantichora in some texts, is 
described by Aristotle on the authority of Ctesias. According 
to this description, it was a wild, fleet animal living in India 
and eating human flesh; it had feet like those of a lion, and 
was as large as that animal ; its body was red, and its eyes 
were blue ; its tail was like that of a scorpion and bristled 
with spines ; and, in each jaw, there were three rows of 
teeth. § 

According to .^lian, Ctesias says that he once saw a 
Martichora which had been sent from India as a present to 
the King of Persia. || It may be added, in justice to ^lian, 
that he properly questions whether Ctesias was a fitting wit- 
ness to things of this kind. The Martichora was largely a 
creature of the imagination. Sundevall fancied he saw, in 
Ctesias' description, the outlines of some fantastic and badly 
executed image or painting, representing a strange being of 
Hindu mythology.^ Gesner describes it in a passage 
between his description of the hyaena and the porcupine, 
and preferred to believe that it was not a tiger.** Pausanias 
believed that it was a tiger, ft and it is probable that the 
description, given by Ctesias, is a distorted account of a 
Bengal tiger, an animal regarded with almost superstitious 
dread by the Hindus. 

The Enydris or otter, according to Aristotle, obtains its 

* H. A. ix. c. 31, s. 3. f Ihid. vi. c. 28, s. 1, viii. c. 27, s. 6. 

I vii. 126. § H. A. ii. c. 3, s. 10. 

II De Nat. Anim. iv. 21. 
% Die Thierarten des Aristoteles, 1863, p. 90. 
*- Hist. Anim. i. 1551, p. 631. ff Deac. of Greece, ix. 21, 4. 


food in or about ponds and rivers, and it also bites men and, 
from information given to him, does not let go until it hears 
the crunching of the bone.* Pliny, in a passage taken to 
some extent from Aristotle, seems to refer, by the name 
Lutra, to the same animal as Aristotle's EnydrisA It should 
be mentioned, however, that Pliny, when repeating the part 
of Aristotle's statement about the hard biting, applies it not 
to Lutra but to the beaver. The statement would apply to 
either, for both the beaver and the otter bite very hard. 

Among wild animals which obtain their food in or about 
lakes and rivers Aristotle mentions Latax, which goes out 
by night and cuts the aspens with its strong teeth ; he also 
says that its body is broader than that of Enydris, and that 
its hair is harsh, being intermediate between that of a deer 
and that of a seal.t This is the only important passage, 
mentioning Latax, which I can find, but it contains sufficient 
information to show that, probably, the beaver is meant. 
The reference to the aspens is important, for the bark of 
these trees is said to be the favourite food of the beaver. 

The elephant is referred to by Aristotle in many passages, 
some of which have been discussed in Chapters x., xi., and 
xiii. The question of the period of gestation, in the case of 
the elephant, does not seem to have been settled in Aristotle's 
time, for he says that, according to some people, it is eighteen 
months, but, according to others, it is as much as three 
years. § Aristotle does not give his own view, but the first- 
mentioned estimate is substantially true, the normal period 
for the Indian elephant being nineteen months. 

Aristotle says that the elephant throws over or tilts palm 
trees with its forehead, and then tramples upon them and 
throws them down,i| but, in another passage, he says that it 
uproots trees by means of its trunk. IT By means of their 
trunks elephants can uproot small trees, but several writers, 
like Sir J. Emerson Tennent and Mr. G. P. Sanderson, 
agree that elephants are by no means in the habit of trying 
their strength in this way. The trunk of an elephant is 
very sensitive, and it is well known how carefully the animal 
usually protects it from injury. The African elephant 
*' Alice " once met with an accident involving the tearing 
away of the extremity of her trunk and the late Superin- 
tendent of the London Zoological Gardens, Mr. A. D. 

=•• H. A. viii. c. 7, s. 5. f Nat. Hist. viii. 47. 

I H. A. viii. c. 7, s. 5. § Ibid. vi. c. 25, s. 2. 

II Ibid. ix. c. 2, s. 11. 11 Ibid. ii. c. 1, s. 2. 


Bartlett, described in graphic terms the intense distress of 
the poor animal.* Aristotle was not aware how delicate is 
the trunk of an elephant. 

An erroneous belief in the capability of elephants to 
perform great feats of strength with their trunks is easily 
produced, and such a belief is very persistent. About the 
year 1873 a large elephant, when passing through a village 
near Dudley, broke down a cast-iron lamp-post. It was 
long believed, and may still be believed by some, that the 
elephant did this with its trunk. The few persons who saw 
what actually took place know, however, that the animal 
wilfully pressed against the post with its shoulder. 

The Pithekos, Kehos, and Kynocephalos which, Aris- 
totle says, are of the nature of men and quadrupeds, are 
sufficiently clearly distinguished by him. The Pithekos, 
according to him, is without a tail, the Kehos has a tail, and 
the Kynocephalos is fierce, larger and stronger than Pithekos, 
and has stronger teeth, and its face is more like that of a 
dog. f He gives but little further information about Kynoce- 
phalos and Kehos, but gives a fairly long account of Pithekos. 
He refers to the almost human appearance of its face, teeth, 
fingers, and nails, its pectoral mammse, its comparatively 
short humerus and femur, and its habit of spending most of 
its time on all fours.! 

Aristotle's Kynocephalos is evidently a baboon, the 
Arabian or sacred baboon being the one with which he would 
be more likely to be acquainted, his Kehos is a tailed monkey 
(but to what kind he particularly refers is not clear), and his 
Pithekos is the Barbary ape. This animal would be more 
likely to be known by the Ancients than the gorilla and 
chimpanzee, yet it was long believed that they obtained a 
knowledge of some kind of anthropoid ape from the Cartha- 
ginians, for it is said that Hanno, during his celebrated 
voyage in the fifth century B.C., saw some animals of this 
kind on the extreme west coast of Africa. 

Not only does Aristotle's description of Pithekos apply 
better to the Barbary ape, but there are passages, e.g., that 
asserting that the chest of every animal but Man is narrow, § 
which could scarcely have been written by Aristotle if he 
had been acquainted with the anthropoid apes. Further, 
with respect to other ancient writers, many passages in 

'^' Wild Animals in Captivity, 1899, pp. 51-53. 
f H. A. ii. c. 5, s. 1, I Ibid. ii. c. 5, ss. 2-5. 

§ Ibid. ii. c. 1, s. 3. 


their works seem to show that these apes were not known 
to them. The Pithekos, in ^sop's fable, " The PitheJcos and 
the Dolphin," was evidently a monkey, Arrian's beautiful 
Indian Pithekoi* Elian's Indian Pithekos, with a long tail, t 
the clever Pithekos which he once saw holding the reins 
and, at the same time, using a whip and driving,! and the 
Pithekoi which were pursued by cats and forced to ascend 
trees from which they hung down by means of their hands, § 
were monkeys. Finally, Galen, who had great difficulty in 
obtaining human bodies for dissection, often dissected a 
Pithekos instead, and it is clear from his writings that this 
was a Barbary ape. 

This account of Aristotle's investigations of animals will 
conclude with a short statement of his views on Man. 

Man is, for him, always ^wov, a living being, an animal, 
but he is the highest representative of the whole series of 
living beings. He is distinguished from other animals by 
having a perception of good and evil, justice and injustice, 
and the like,l| and by his capability of deliberating and of re- 
calling anything to mind.U Many animals, Aristotle says, are 
able to remember, but Man alone is capable of reminiscence, 
this involving a process of syllogistic reasoning.** Aristotle 
is very severe in his judgment on some types of men, for he 
says that those who are not amenable to law and justice are 
among the worst, and, if devoid of virtue, are the most 
unholy, savage, and gluttonous animals, while those who are 
highly cultured are the best and 

This discussion of Aristotle's researches in Natural Science 
shows how vast was the field of knowledge which he at- 
tempted to traverse. It is not pretended that the discussion 
is comprehensive. Much that Aristotle included in his 
voluminous writings has been omitted. That which has 
been included has been selected with a view to showing 
fairly the defects of Aristotle's work as well as its excel- 
lences. Care has been taken to show that his writings 
contain statements which he could never have attempted 
to verify, and that he sometimes gave an explanation of 
phenomena which was based on false data, obtained by 

* Hist. Indica, c. 15. f De Nat. Anim. xvii. 39. 

I Ibid. V. 26. § Ibid. V. 7. 

II Politics, i. c. 1, ss. 10-11. *[ H. A. i. c. 1, s. 15. 
** De Memoria, dc, c. 2. f f Politics, i. c. 1, s. 13. 


abstract reasoning, and not from facts previously ascertained. 
On the other hand, prominence has been given to his 
excellent method of inquiry, his interesting views on the 
phenomena of light, colour, and heat, his records of comets, 
earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and relative changes in the 
distribution of land and sea, his views on the constitution 
of matter, his attempt to form a classification of animals, 
his advice on the importance of dissection, the instances in 
which he appears to have anticipated modern discoveries, 
and his excellent work in anatomy, embryology, and zoology. 
If the reader is satisfied that an impartial attempt has 
been made to set out the real nature and value of Aristotle's 
work in Natural Science, this book will have achieved its 


English names of animals are followed, in most cases, by the 
Aristotelian names apparently equivalent, e.g. Alpine swift {Algous). 
Separate entries are also made for Aristotelian names of animals of 
special interest, e.g. Aspalax, Glanis, Skaros. 

Absorption of light, 64-5 

Achaia, earthquakes in, 44, 59 

Achelous, river, 48, 235, 259 

^gean Sea, 54 

jEgocephalos, 157 

uEgon, river, 56 

iEgospotamos, 51 

^lian, 8, 10, 134, 231, 232, 235, 236, 

243, 254, 256, 259, 262 
^olian Islands, 59, 60 
^sop, 186, 243, 262 
^ther, 29, 30, 31, 43, 62, 88 
Ethiopia, 101, 241, 256 
Agassiz, L., 82, 208, 211, 213, 221, 

234, 235 
Air-bladder of fishes, 161 
Air, colour of, 67 ; none in water, 

according to A., 81, 148 ; weight 

of, 60 
Aithyia, 242-4 
Ahalepliai (coelenterates), 84, 215, 

Albertus Magnus, 186, 207 
Albinos, 135 
Alchemy, 50, 91 
AlcmjEon, 14, 173, 183 
Aldrovandi, 186, 207, 221, 236, 237 
Alexander the Great, 7-9, 11, 61 
Alhazen, 66 
Alimentary canal, 24, 25, 102, 103, 

130, 144, 153, 158-164, 169, 171, 

203, 206 
AUamand, 253 

Allantois and its blood-vessels, 205-7 
Alloys, 91 

Alpine swift (Apous)^ 245 
Amia, 156, 233-4 
Amnion, 205-7 

Amphibians, 75, 103, 106, 111, 112, 

135, 154, 156-7, 165, 166, 170, 

214, 229-30, 234, 236, 237, 

Amphodonta, 128, 208 
Anaima, 127, 179, 215-28 
Anaklasis (of light), 34, 64 
Analogy {analogia), 135, 209-11 
Anaxagoras, 14, 33, 34, 43, 95, 97, 

148, 198 
Anaximander, 31, 32 
Anaximenes, 43 
AnejmllaMa, 128, 208 
Angel-fish {Rhine), 152-3, 232 
Angora goats, 133, 253 
Anhomceomeria, 19, 90, 92, 93, 94, 

118-187, 196 
Animal heat, 70, 74, 75, 158 

„ motion, 188-94 
Antelopes, 115-6, 132, 254-6 
Anthrakeutic substances, 72 
Anthropoid apes, 261, 262 
Anticipation of modern discoveries, 

alleged, 5, 62-3, 128, 168-9, 197-8, 

201-2, 231, 236, 263 
Antipater, 7-8, 10 
Aorta, 6, 102, 109, 110, 113, 125, 

138-41, 143, 145-7, 165, 194 
Aphides, 201 
Aplysia, 216 
Aquinas, Thomas, 6 
Arabia, 100, 241, 249 
Arabs and A.'s writings, 1 
Arachnoid membrane, 178 
Arachosia, 253-4 
Araxes, river, 56 
Archimedes, 65 
Arcynian mountains, 56 



Argonaut {Nautikos or Nautilos), 

168, 227-8 
Argos, physical changes at, 59 
Aristophanes, 193, 241, 247, 258 
Aristotelians, 3, 4, 15, 47, 70, 71 
Aristotle's " lantern," 127, 130, 164 

,, life and character, 7-11 
Arrian, 243, 250-2, 262 
Artedi, P., 5, 234 
Ascidians (Tethtja), 84, 106, 127, 

215, 217, 220 
Ashanti, skull from, 120 
Aspalax, 179, 185, 186, 257 
Ass (Olios), 112, 116, 130, 155-6, 

213, 256-7 
Assyrians, surgery of, 143 
AstaJcos, 224-5 

Astragali, 118, 120, 123, 124, 125, 

Atarneus, 7 
Athenaeus, 8, 10, 14, 100, 101, 229, 

231, 232, 236, 243 
Athens, 7, 9, 39-40, 41, 52-3, 65, 241 
Atmospheric phenomena, 28-60 
Atomic theory, 92 
Aubert, H., 137 
Auroras, 33 
Averroes, 1 
Avicenua, 1 
Azov, Sea of, 48, 54, 56, 58 

Baboons {Kynocephalos), 82, 257, 

Bacon, Lord, 3-4 

„ Eoger, 3 
Bactrus, river, 56 
Barbary ape (Pithekos), 13, 82, 105, 

257, 261-2 
Bartlett, A. D., 261 
Bass (Labrax), 24, 153, 162, 171, 

181, 183-4, 193, 232-3 
Bateson, W., 126 
Bats (Nykteris, Alopex), 106, 170, 

241, 252, 257 
Bears (Arktos), 132, 135, 171, 192, 

214, 257 

Beavers (Latax, Kastor), 252, 257, 

Beech marten (Gale), 257-8 
Bees [Mclitta), 22, 99, 148, 164, 182, 

199, 200, 201, 221, 223-4 
Beetles {Kouleoijtera), 127, 164, 221, 

Beisa {Oryx), 255 
Beleiiion, 100 
Beliefs, popular, 54, 57, 85, 121, 

131, 134, 144-5, 186, 190, 197, 

199, 202, 204, 222, 227, 238, 240, 
241, 242, 244, 247, 248-9, 254-7, 
259 261 

Belon' 4, 85, 86, 229, 236, 240, 243, 

Belone, 233-4 

Bengal tiger (Mantichora or Marti- 
Chora), 257, 259 

Bichat, 94 

Bile, 92, 154, 155 

Birds, 24, 25, 69,70, 75, 94, 103, 108, 
111, 112, 118, 122-3, 135,148, 151, 
154, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 
165, 166, 170. 177, 181, 189, 192-3, 

200, 202-7, 209-11, 213-4, 241-9 
Bison (Bonassos), 252-3 
Blackbird (Kottyjihos), 246 
Black Sea, 54, 57-8, 70 

Blenny, viviparous, 25 

Blind mole (Talpa ccbco), 185-6 

Blind-worm {Tyi)lilines), 241 

Bleeding, practice of, 144 

Bloch, 234 

Blood and blood-vessels, 13, 15, 

26-7, 75, 92, 93, 104, 107, 109-16, 

118, 136-47, 149, 150-1, 154, 

157-9, 164-5, 174-6, 178, 194, 

196, 202-6, 210-11 
Blumenbach, 197 
Boars {Kapros), 110, 128, 257, 259 
Boccamele (Iktis), 258 
Boethius, 1 

Boguslawski, Von, on A.'s comet, 50 
Bonassos, 252-3 
Bone and bones, 92, 102, 104, 107-8, 

111, 118-27, 131, 137-8, 168, 194, 

202-3, 210, 260 
Bonnet, C, 196 
Book scorpion, 224 
Boyle, Eobert, 47, 71-2 
Brain, the, 75, 112, 143, 173-80, 

183, 202, 210, 251 
Bubaliue antelope (Boubalis), 115, 

Bustards {Otis), 193 
Butterflies {Psyche), 196, 199, 200 

221, 223 

Caesalpinus, Andreas, 96 
Calamaries {Teuthos, Teuthis),106, 

127, 163, 226-7 
Calandruccio, Dr., 199 
Callisthenes, 8 
Camels {Kamelos), 12, 116, 124, 129, 

171, 189, 191-2, 252, 255 
Camerano, L., 185 
Camerarius, R. J., 99 



Camus, 191, 255 

Caprification, 98 

Carcharodonta, 128, 208 

Carp (Kyprinos), 152, 182, 201, 

233 235 
Cartil'age, 92, 107-8, 118, 121-2, 183, 

Cartilaginous fishes, 121, 122, 152-8, 

162, 167, 170, 171, 193, 213-4, 

Caspian, the, 57-8 
Cassander, 8 
Category, 6 

Cats (Ailouros), 257-8, 262 
Caucasus, 56-7 
Cavolini, P., 201 
Celestial &c., phenomena, 28-60 
Centipedes, 127, 164, 221 
Cephalopods, 5, 82, 83, 103, 106, 127, 

138, 139, 153, 162, 163, 168-71, 

174, 179, 182, 187, 189, 193, 194, 

210, 211, 215, 226, 227, 228 
Cerebellum, 174-5, 178 
Cetaceans, 6, 106-7, 155, 167, 171, 

183, 208-9, 213-4, 250-2, 262 
Cetti, F., 258 
Chabrol, Count de, 236 
Chaffinch [Spiza), 246, 247 
ChalazDB, 204 
Chalcis, 9, 155 
Chamaeleons (Chmnaileon), 13, 102, 

106, 121, 136, 157, 175, 181, 214, 

238, 239 
Chambers of the heart, 137, 139-41, 

149, 150 
Channe, 201, 233-4 
Chaonia, salt waters of, 55 
Cheese, 116 

Chemical composition, 12, 91 
Chicken, development of the, 102, 

Chinese, their views on the blood- 
vessels, 144-5 
Chloris, 99, 248 
Choaspes, river, 56 
Chordcs tendinea;, 187 
Chremetes, river, 56 
Church and the Aristotelians, the, 1 
Chrysalides, 199-200 
Cicadas (Tettix, Acheta, Tettigo- 

nion), 222-8 
Cicero, 186, 231 

Classification of animals, 208-15, 263 
Clothes moths {Ses), 223 
Clouds, 34-7, 43, 45 
Coagulation of blood, 110, 112-5 ; of 

milk, 116-7 

Ccelenterates (Ahalephai, Knidai), 

79, 84, 215, 217 
Coelia, see Alimentary canal. 
Cold, nature of, 70-1, 74 
Cold River, 134 
Coleoptera, 6 
Colom*, phenomena of, 34-8, 41-2, 

61, 66-70, 184, 263 
Colours of animals, 131, 134-5, 239 
Columbus, 6 

Comets, 24, 28, 32-4, 50-1, 59, 263 
" Compass," A.'s, 52 
Compounds of substances, 91-2 
Congers [Gongros), 24-5, 106, 152, 

156, 181, 193, 233 
Constitution of matter, 88-92, 263 
Corinth, 53 
Crabs {Karhinos, Maia, Hippcus), 

106, 180, 225-6 
Cranes (Gcranos), 58, 69, 135 
Cranium and cranial bones. 111, 

Crayfish (Astakos), 139, 158, 224, 

Crocodile (KroTcodeilos), 105, 112, 

120-1, 157, 1G7-8, 181, 238 
Crop, the, 25, 158, 160-4, 169 
Crows (Eorone), 161 
Crustaceans, 82, 88, 106, 127, 130, 

138-9, 153, 168, 169-71, 182, 187, 

189, 193, 215, 221, 224-6 
Ctesias, 256, 259 

Cuckoos {KoUyx), 18, 131, 247-9 
Cuttle-bone, 127, 210, 226 
Cuvier, 14-5, 85, 162, 172, 184, 201, 

208-9, 229, 238-7, 240, 254 
Cypris, 201 

Dalmatian pups, 184 

Dante, 2 

Danube, 56 

Dart sacs of molluscs, 164, 169 

Darwin, C, 132, 166, 237 

Date palm, 98, 100-1 

Day- or May-flies {Ephemeron), 

221, 223 
Dead Sea, 54-5 
Deer {Elaphos, Prox), 106, 115-7, 

126-8, 181-2, 155, 252-3, 260 
Delphys, 170 
Deluges, 48 
Democritus, 14, 33-4, 48, 61, 63, 80, 

92, 95, 97, 148, 198 
Der Miihle, Von, 245 
Desmarest, 253 
Development, generation and, 102, 

186, 169, 180, 195-207, 212-13 



Dew, 43 

Diaphanous, the, 62, 66-8, 182, 

Diaphragm, the, 140, 143, 144, 146, 

Digestion, 75, 96, 153, 158, 220 
Diogenes of Apollonia, 97, 136, 144, 

148, 173 
Diogenes Laertius, 9-10 
Dionysius, 242-3 
Diptera, 6 
Discoveries made over and over 

again, 6 
Dissections, A.'s, 22, 102-6, 136-9, 

167, 171, 203, 263 
Ditliura (bivalves), 218 
Divination, 125 
Dobson, G. E., 185 
Dogfishes {Galeoeide), 106, 152, 154, 

Dogs (Kuon), 102, 103, 112, 116, 

120, 128-31, 134, 156, 159-60, 

257-8, 201 
Dolphins {DelpJds), 106-7, 155, 167, 

171, 183, 250-2, 262 
Don, river, 48, 56 
Do}-kas, 252-4 
Dormice (Eleios), 257 
Doves (Trygon), 106, 160, 244 
Drepanis, 245-6 
Dresser, H. E., 244, 245, 247-8 
Ducks {Netta, Boshas), 106, 111, 

193, 242, 243 
Dudgeon, Dr. J., 145 
Dudley, popular belief near, 261 
Dura mater, 178 

Earth, its position in the Kosmos, 

and its form and size, 32, 88 
Earthquakes, 24, 28, 43, 44, 45, 48, 

59, 60, 263 
Echinoderms, 103, 106, 127, 130, 

164, 171, 194, 215, 217, 219-20 
Echoes, 77-8 
Eclipses, 32, 63 
Educational value of hearing and 

sight, 184 
Eels {Enchelas), 24, 82, 106, 152, 

156, 162, 188, 193, 198-9, 233 
Egypt, 48, 58, 100-1, 241 
Eidos, 209, '211-213 
Elements, A.'s, 28-32, 44, 70, 71, 72, 

73, 88-92, 187 
Elephants {Elephas), 13, 16, 106, 

126, 129, 154-6, 157, 160, 167, 

171, 189, 190, 257, 260-1 
Elleipsis, 209-10 

Empedocles, 14,45,46, 61-3, 80,88, 

95, 150-1, 198 
Enamia, 82, 83, 214-5, 229-63 
Energy, 6 
Entelechy, 6 
Enthymeme, 6 
Entoma, 13, 82-3, 127, 139, 148, 

153, 154, 164, 169, 182, 187, 

198-200, 202, 209, 213, 215-6, 

Entomology, 6 
E}iydris, 257, 259-60 
Epididymis, 167 
Epigenesis, 197 
Epiglottis, 252 
Erasistratus, 105, 150, 176 
Erythrinos, 22, 201, 233-4 
Erythroblasts, 112 
Essence, 6 

Ethics, established by A., 5 
Euboea, 9, 44, 55, 155 
Euclid, 64 

Eudemus of Ehodes, 8 
Eustachian canal, the, 183 
Evans, Vet.-Capt. G. H., 154, 157 
Evolution theory of development, 

196, 197 
Exhalations, terrestrial, 24, 28, 32, 

33, 42-3, 44, 45, 46-7, 49, 50 
Eyes, 66, 69-70, 102, 104, 174-6, 

179-80, 185-6, 198, 202-4, 206, 

238, 239, 259 

Fabricius, H., 203 

Faculty, 6 

Falkland Islands, white cattle of 
the, 132 

Falling bodies, 3, 24, 27, 32 

Falling stars, 24, 29, 32-3 

Fats, 92, 94, 107, 111, 114-5 

Feathers, 135, 147, 206, 210-1, 241, 

Feet of birds in flight, position of, 193 

Fibrin and "fibres," 94, 107-9, 111, 
113-6, 146, 194 

Fieldfare (Kichle), 246 

Fig trees, 98, 100 

Final cause, 6 

Fins of fishes, 142, 188, 189, 193, 
211, 235-6 

Fishes, 5, 14, 22, 24-5, 75, 82, 94, 103, 
106, 111, 121, 129, 136, 142, 151-6, 
158-9, 161-2, 165-7, 170-1, 174-5, 
179, 181-4, 188-9, 193, 198-9, 201, 
208, 210-1, 213-4, 229-237 

Fishing-frog (Batrachos), 106, 152, 
153, 156, 229, 230, 231 



Flesh, 94, 104, 107, 109-11, 147, 167, 

180, 183, 196, 2U2-0 
Flight, 135, 188, 192-3 
Foetus, human, 104-5, 165, 178 
Forbes, Prof. E., 84-5, 218, 220, 228 
Form, 6 

Foster, Sir M., 151 
Fowls, domestic, 105, 160, 203-7 
Fox-bats (Alopex), 257 
Foxes (Alojiex), 126, 257 
Frantzius, Dr. von, 17, 137, 227 
Freezing, 43, 72, 76 
Friction produces heat, 30-1, 70, 

Frogs {Batrachos), 106, 135, 154, 

157, 166, 214, 234, 236, 240 
Furlanus of Crete, 16 

Gale, 126, 257-8 

Galen, 104, 105, 119, 151, 157, 176, 

186, 262 
Galileo, 2-3, 24 

Gall-bladder, 102, 155-6, 233-5 
Gall-insects, 98 
Gam])soHyclies, 214, 241 
Gastric-mill of crustaceans, 130, 

Gastropods, 82, 130, 163, 217-8, 228 
Gazelles (Dorkas), 132, 252-4 
Geckos (Askalabotes), 238 
Geese (Chen), 106, 111, 192, 242 
Generation and development, 102, 

136, 169, 186, 195-207, 212-3 
Generative organs, 122, 125-6, 146, 

166-72, 195, 198, '202 
Genos, 209-14, 221, 229 
Geometrid£e, 223 
Gesuer, Conrad, 4-5, 85-6, 186, 234, 

240, 243, 245, 259 
Gill, T., 235 
Gills, 25, 75, 148, 149, 151-3, 182, 

229, 231, 235, 240 
Gilt-head {Chrysojphnjs), 129, 162, 

Giraffe {Pardion), 189, 252, 255-6 
Glanis {Parasilunis aristotelis), 

106, 152, 156, 233-5, 240 
Goats (Aix, Cliimaira, Tragos), 

69, 116, 124, 128, 132-3, 183, 

Gradation from inanimate matter 

to Man, 79, 80 
Grant, Dr. R. E., 85, 216 

„ Sir A., 6, 17 
Grassi, Prof., 199 
Grass-snakes (Hydros), 106, 138, 

151, 154, 156, 166, 188, 241 

Great tit {S'pizites), 246 
Grebes (Kolymbis), 242-3 
Grecian tortoises (Chelone), 166, 237 
Greenfinches {Chloris), 99, 248 
Gulls {Laros, Aithyia), 69, 242-4 

Habit, 6 
Hail, 43 
Hair, 131, 133-5, 195, 202, 252, 

255-6, 260 
HaUiday, W. R., 53-4, 86 
Halos, 34-5, 64 
Hanno, voyage of, 261 
Hares {Basypous, Lagos), 106, 108, 

115-7, 135, 170, 257 
Harvey, W., 197, 204 
Hawks, 157, 193, 241, 248 
Hearing, 21, 179, 183-4, 187 
Heart, the, 15, 24, 26-7, 75, 93, 

102-4, 112-3, 116, 118, 125-6, 

136-43, 147-9, 150, 151, 154, 

164, 173, 175-7, 180, 187, 194, 

197, 202-6, 211 
Heat phenomena, 30-1, 70-7, 158, 

Hecatseus, 55, 57 
Hectocotylus, 5, 168-9 
Hedgehogs (Echinos), 167-8, 257 
Hedge-sparrows (Hypolais), 248 
Hegel, 5 

Helicido}, 130, 164, 219 
Hellespont, earthquakes near, 44 
liemionos of Syria, 213, 256-7 
Heraclea Pontica, 59, 60 
Heraclitus, 23 
Hermaphroditism, 5, 22, 98, 201, 

Hermias, 7, 9 
Hermit crabs, 226 
Herodotus, 14, 55, 57-8, 105, 119-20, 

132, 191, 238, 241, 253, 257, 259 
Herophilus, 105, 176 
Hesychius, 243 
Hilaire, J. B. Saint-, 19, 191 
Hindoo Koosh, 55, 56 
Hipparchus, 57 
Hipyelai^lios, 252-4 
Hippocrates, 14, 108-9, 111, 113-4, 

119, 133, 141, 157-8, 177 
Hippopotamus {Hip^ws-potamios), 

105, 124, 257 
Histology, 107 
Hoar-frost, 43 
HolotJioiii'ia, 84 
Homer, 135, 243, 250 
Homceomeria, 14, 19, 90-4, 107-17, 




Homology, 135, 189, 211 

Hoopoes (Hjjops), 247 

Horace, 236, 243 

Horned snakes, 132 

Horns, 127-8, 131-2, 202, 253-6 

Horses (Hiju^os), 106, 111, 115, 118, 
125, 126, 128-30, 138, 155, 156, 
160, 172, 189-90, 198, 208, 213, 
256, 257 

House-martius(4250«s), 177, 214, 245 

Humboldt, Von, 50, 57, 60 

Hmiter, John, 115, 172 

Hyaenas {Hyaiiia, Glanos), 257 

Hybrids, 256-7 

Hyperoche, 209-10 

Hypozoma, 153, 159, 182, 222 

Hystera, 169-70 

Ideler, J. L., 51, 64 

Iktis, 257-8 

Illyria, 126, 256 

Immortality of the soul, 10 

Impiety, A. charged with, 9 

" Indian ass " {Onos Indikos), 124, 

254, 256 
Indians, North American, 6 
Inductive method, 22 
Indus, the, 55-6 
Infinite, the, 29-30 
Influence of A.'s works, 1-6 
Ink-bag and ink of cephalopods, 163, 

194, 226-7 
Insects, 22, 82, 98-9, 106, 135, 148, 

164, 182, 193, 196, 199-201, 215, 

221-4, 238 
Intestinal caeca of birds, 158, 160-4 
Introduction to A.'s H. A., 17-20 
Inventions, want of novelty in, 6 
Iris, 69-70, 185, 186, 239 
Iron, working of, 49, 76 
IscMoH, 122-3 
Isocrates, 7-8 
Izavo, skull from, 120 

Jackals (TJios), 257 

Jays [Kitta), 246 

Jelly-fishes (AJcalephe, Knide), 79, 

84, 215, 217 
Junge, J., 97 

Kallionymos, 156, 238, 235 

Karaboghaz, the, 57 

Kata diametron, motion, 14, 189 

Kehos, 252, 256-7, 261 

Keryx, 217 

Kestrels {Kenchris), 69, 241-2 

Kestreus, 162, 233 

Kete or Kef ode, 208-9, 213-4, 250-2 

Kidneys, 104, 110, 140, 145, 165-7 

Kingfishers (Halcyon), 69 

Kites (IJdinos), 157. 241, 242 

Knuckle-bones, 118, 120, 123-5, 256 

Koclilias, 130, 219 

KolymUs, 242 

Kordylos, 234, 240 

Kosmos, the, 29-30, 32, 33, 48, 88 

Kouleo2)tera, 223 

Kylin of China, 254 

KTjininos, 152, 182, 233, 235 

Lahrax, 183, 184, 193, 233 

Lamarck, 85, 221 

Lamellibranchs, 82, 186-7, 194, 

218-9, 227 
Lankester, Sir E., 87 
Latax, 252, 257 
Lauth, Dr. T., 144 
Lavoisier, 72, 74 
Lee, R. J., 186 
Leeuwenhoek, 107 
Le Mesle, M., 237 
Leopards {Pardalis, Panther), 128, 

171, 257 
Lepas, 218 
Lessing, 5 
Leucippus, 92 
Lewes, G. H., 12 
Libya, 253 

Light, 5, 61-6, 184, 263 
Lightning, 28, 44-5 
Ligurians, 120 
Limpet {Leims), 218 
Linnasus, C, 5, 85-7, 221 
Lions {Leon), 25, 102, 107, 108, 121, 

123-4, 126-8, 171, 189, 257, 259 
Lipari Isles, 59, 60 
Liver, the, 92, 94, 110, 159, 140, 

143-6, 153-5, 158, 103, 198, 203, 

206, 209, 211, 218, 230, 234 
Lizards (Saura), 106, 112, 151, 157, 

167-8, 180-1, 214, 241 
Lobsters (Astalcos, Karahos), 106, 

130, 139, 153, 169, 224, 225 
Locusts {Ahris), 106, 164, 199, 221, 

Logic, established by A., 5 
Loligo, 127, 163, 210, 226-7 
Long-tailed tits (Oreinos), 246 
Lojjhoura, 208, 213, 214, 256 
Lungs, 75, 97, 103, 138, 140, 142, 

148-51, 153, 182, 198, 210, 240, 

250, 252 
Luther, 2 
Lycia, 253 



Lygian region, 59, 60 
Lyncus, acid waters of, 55 
Lynxes (Lynx), 123-4, 257 

Mseotis, Lake, 48, 54, 56 

Malakia, 13, 162, 179, 209, 213, 
215, 226-8 

Malakostraka, 13, 213, 215, 221, 

Malpighi, 107 

MammiE, 171-2, 250, 252, 261 

Mammals, 25, 69, 75, 82, 102-3, 105- 
8,110, 112, 115-8, 120-2, 124-38, 
141, 149, 151, 154-60, 165-7, 170- 
2, 178, 180-1, 183, 189-92, 198, 
207, 208, 213, 214, 219, 250-62 

Man distinguished from other ani- 
mals, 262 

Mantichora or Martichora, 257, 

Mantis shrimp (Krangon), 226 

Marcellus of Sida, 236 

Marrow, 92, 107, 108, 111-2, 122, 
126, 127, 177 

Mars, occultation of, 15, 51 

Martial, 236-7 

Martens {Gale), 106, 126, 168, 257-8 

Maxim, 6 

May- or day-flies {Ephemeron), 221, 

Mean between extremes, 6 

Mechanical mixtm-es, 91 

Mecon, 163-4, 218 

Medusae, see Jelly-fishes 

Membranes, 107, 109, 110, 127, 137, 
143, 159, 176-8, 185, 204, 205, 
206-7, 220, 222 

Mercury, nature of, 71 

Mesentery, the, 144-5, 158-9, 161 

Metallic deposits, 49-50 

Metaphysics, 6 

Meteors and meteorites, 33, 51 

Methana, eruption at, 60 

Meyer, J. B., 225 

Mice {Mus), 106, 126, 155, 170, 177, 
202, 257-8 

Migrations of birds, 244 

Milk, 94, 107, 116-7, 171-2, 250, 252 

Milky Way, 24, 28, 32-4 

Millais, J. G., 251 

Millipedes, 127, 164, 221 

Milne-Edwards, 85 

Mineral substances, A.'s views on, 
49, 50 

Mirbel, Brisseau, 97, 100 

Missel-thrush {Ixoboros), 246 

Mixis, 91-2 

Mixture, A.'s views on, 12, 91-2 
Mixtures of coloured lights, 41, 68-9 

,, of pigments, 41, 68-9 
Moles (Aspalax), 102, 106, 179, 

185-6, 257 
Molluscs, 5, 82, 103, 106, 127, 138-9, 

153, 162-4, 168-71, 174, 179, 182, 

186-7, 189, 193-4, 199. 210, 211, 

215, 217-9, 226-8 
Mongooses {Ichneumon), 257 
Monkeys {Kebos, Pithehos), 82, 

126, 160, 214, 252, 257, 261-2 
Monothura (Univalves), 218 
Monycha, 214, 238, 256-7 
Moon, the, 31-2, 34-5, 51 
Moths, 199-200, 221, 223, 238 
Motion, A.'s views on, 3, 24, 27, 32, 

Mules {Oreus), 130, 155-6, 256-7 
Mullets, grey {Kestreus), 82, 106, 

158, 162, 183, 233 
Mullets, red {Trigle), 106, 162. 232, 

Mursena {Muraina), 152, 156, 193, 

Murex, 106, 163-4, 169, 217-8 
Mycenas, physical changes at, 59 
Myriapods, i27, 164, 221 
Mytis, 138-9, 211 

Narhe, 230-1 

Natural history, 6 

Natural Science, A.'s works on, 11- 

Natural system of classification, 209 
Nautilos, 227 
Nearchus, voyage of, 252 
Necessary parts of animals, 212 
Negroes, 120, 123 
Nerites, 218 

Nerves, 109, 174-6, 180, 184, 194 
Nesting fishes, 5, 236 
Neura, 108-9, 176 
Newts {Kordylos), 136, 234, 240 
Nicanor, 9 

Nightingales {Mdon), 246-7 
Nile, the, 48, 56-8 
Nilgai {HippelapJios), 252, 254 
Non-aynphodonta, 128, 214, 252 
Notochord, 122 
Nutrition of plants, 96, 98 
Nyses, river, 56 

Occiput, 103, 119, 177 
Occultation of Mars, 15, 51 
Octopus {Polypous), 106, 163, 168, 
171, 194, 210, 227 



Ogle, Dr. W., 137, 178 
Oil, nature of, 72, 90, 230 
Olympiodorus, 47, 50 
Omentum, 143, 145, 158-9 
Oppian of Cilicia, 230-2, 236-7 

„ „ Syria. 186, 255 
Optic nerves, 175, 184, 186 
Order of A.'s works, 15-20 
Organic equivalents, 5, 128 
Orpheus, verses of, 197 
Orrhopi/gion, 192, 193 
Oryxes {Orijx), 132, 252, 254-5 
Oshakoderma, 13, 22, 82, 83, 127, 

139, 163, 169, 186, 194, 198, 213, 

215, 217-220, 224 
Ostriches (StroutJios LihyTiOs), 122, 

135, 249 
Otoliths of fishes, 183-4 
Otters {Enydris), 130, 257, 259, 260 
Ovaries, 170-1 
Ovid, 236 
Oviducts, 170-1 
Owen, Sir R., 107, 128-9, 155, 160, 

169, 186, 208-9, 250 
Owls {Glaux, Otos, Shops), 106, 

157, 161, 241 
Oxen {Bous, Taiiros), 106-7, 110, 

112, 115-6, 118, 124-8, 132, 137, 

138, 141, 149, 151, 154, 156-7, 

165-6, 252-3 
Oxus, river, 56 

Pffionia, 126, 253, 256 

Pagre, common (Phagros), 184,233 

Palestine, 54, 100-1 

Pallas, P. S., 253, 255 

Pancreas, 143, 145, 153, 157 

Parasilurus aristotelis (Glayiis), 

106, 152, 156, 233-5, 240 
Parhelia, 34-5, 51 
Parmenides, 30 
Paropamisus, 56 
Parrot-wrasse {SJmros), 25, 129, 

152, 162, 233, 236-7 
Parrots {Psittake), 181, 249 
Parthenogenesis, 201-2 
Partridges {Perdix), 106, 160, 197, 219 
Paton, W. R., 132 
Patrizi, F., 2-3, 16-7 
Pausanias, 259 

Pearl-ash, manufacture of, 76 
Pears, grafted, 101 
Pectens (Kteis), 186-7, 194, 218, 

219, 227 
Pel amid (Amia), 102, 106, 156, 

Pen of Loligo, 127, 210, 227 

Perches (PerTce), 152, 153, 162, 201, 

233, 235 
Pericardium, 137-8 
Persia, 100-1, 202 
Phalaina, 250-1 
Philip of Macedon, 7-8 
Phlegraean plain, 59 
Phlogistic substances, 72 
Phoenicia, 225 
Phosphorescence, 66 
Phrygia, 131 
PhyJiis, 233, 236 
Physical geography, 54-9 
Physician, 6 
Pia mater, 178 
Pigeons {Peristera, Phatta, Oinas, 

Phaps), 106, 112, 156-7, 160, 193, 

207, 244-5 248 
Pigmies of Africa, 58 
Pigs {Hys), 106, 111, 112, 115, 124, 

126-8, 130-1, 156, 166, 219, 256-7 
Pinna, 218-9 

Phmojyhylax or Pinnoteres, 219 
Pipe-fishes (Belone), 234 
Pithel-os, 257, 261-2 
Placental animals (mammals), 170, 

(fishes), 231 
Plagiarism, A. charged with, 14-5 
Planets, 32-3 

Plants, 82-7, 95-101, 117, 169, 260 
Plato, 3, 7, 8, 13, 15, 21-2, 54, 93, 95, 

101, 109, 111, 113-4, 136, 153, 159 
Pliny, 8, 11, 186, 189, 221, 230-2, 

234-8, 243, 249, 251, 253, 255-6, 

Pollux, 100 
Polybus, 14, 136 
Pond tortoises (Emys), 165, 238 
Popular beliefs, 54, 57, 85, 121, 131, 

134, 144-5, 186, 190, 197, 199, 

202, 204, 222, 227, 238, 240, 241, 

242. 244, 247, 248-9, 254-7, 259, 

Popular names, persistence of, 230- 

3, 234, 237, 244, 246 
Porcupines (Hysfrix), 257 
PorpJiura, 163, 217-8 
Porpoises (PJiokaina), 250, 252 
Portal blood-vessels, 145 
Pottery, baking of, 70, 76 
Poulton, Prof. E. B., 239 
Prantl, C. von, 16 
Predicament, 6 
Principle, 6 

Priviumfrigidum, 70, 72 
Psetta, 233-4 
Ptolemy, 57, 65 



Pulmonary blood-vessels, 141-2, 147, 

149, 151 
Purpura {Porphura), 106, 163-4, 

Pyloric Cfflca of fishes, 158, 162, 164, 

Pyrenees, 56 
Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, 

30, 32, 34, 67 

Quails iOrtyx), 106, 111, 156, 161 
Quintessence, 6 

Eain, 42-3, 46, 48 

Kainbows, 13. 15, 2S, 32, 34-6, 36- 
42, 63, 64. 68-9 

Eamsay, Sir W., 91 

Kamus, 2 

Eavens {Korax), 135, 161 

Bay, John, 5, 85, 208, 221 

Eays or skates {Batos, Leiobatos), 
24, 129, 152, 193, 230-1 

Eeclus, E., 53, 57-8 

Eectiliuear propagation of light, 

Bed deer (Elaplws), 115, 253 

Eedi, F., 115 

Bed Sea, level of the, 58 
,, snow, 60 

Eeflection, acoustic, 77, 78 

optical, 34-8, 41-2, 64-5 

Eefraction, optical, 64-5 

Eennet, 117 

Reptiles, 24, 75, 102, 103, 105-6, 
108. 112, 120-1, 132, 136, 138, 
151, 154-7, 159, 161-2, 165-8, 
170, 174, lSO-1, 208, 214, 237-9, 
240, 241, 258 

Respiration, 75, 97, 148-50 

Eetriever pups, Duke of Grafton's, 

Eevival of interest in A.'s works, 5 

Ehetoric, established by A., 5 

Ehipsean mountains, 56 

Eibs, 24, 111, lis, 120, 121 

Eight more noble than left, 27, 113 

Eisso, 229 

Eock thrush, blue (Kyanos), 246 

" Eods " (rJiabdoi), 34-6 

EoUeston, G., 157, 258 

Eondelet, 4, 85-6, 229, 233, 234, 236 

Eose, Valentin. 16 

Eouse, Dr. W. H. D., 86 

Eufus Ephesius, 157. 176 

Euminating fish, 162, 236-7 

Ruminating stomach, complex struc- 
ture of, 102, 159-60 

Sabre-horned antelopes (Oi'yx), 132, 

252, 254-5 
Sachs, J. von, 99 
Sacred beetles (Kajitharos), 223 
Salamanders (Salainandra), 240 
Salviani, 229 

Saltness of the sea, 45-7, 54-5 
Sanderson, G. P., 260 
Sand-martins {Drepanis), 245-6 
Sardinian weasels {ITxtis), 257-8 
Scales of fishes. 24-5, 66, 135, 136, 

147, 210-11, 230, 236 
Scaliger, 47, 186, 255 
Scammander, 135 
Scarus cretensis (SJiaros), 25, 129, 

152, 162, 233, 236-7 
Schenk. Dr. L., 198 
Schneider, J. G., 16, 120, 155, 191, 

238, 240, 255 
Scorpasna (Shorpios), 106, 162 
Scutes. 135, 211 
Scyros, 246 

Scythia, bitter waters of, 55 
Sea and land, relative changes of, 

28, 48-9, 263 
Sea-anemones {ATialepJie, Knide), 

79, 84, 215, 217 
Sea-eagles (Ealiaietos), 241, 242 
Seals (Pholie), 122, 130, 155, 165, 

180-1, 257, 260 
Sea, nature of the, 46 ; saltness of 

the, 45-7, 54-5 
Seas, depths of, 54 
Seasonal changes in colours of birds, 

Sea-urchins (Echinos, Ecliinome- 

tra, Spataijgo-t, Bryttos), 106, 

127, ISO, 164. 171, 194, 219 
Selache, 14, 162, 209, 213-4, 229-33, 

Semeia or means of progressive 

motion, 188 
Semen, 111, 114. 16G-7, 168, 169, 

Seminal ducts, 166-7, 169-70 
Seneca, 65, 186 
Senses and sensation, 21, 71, 73-4, 

80, 84, 95, 97, 100-1, 151, 153, 
173-5, 179-82. 183, 184-5, 187 

Sensory organs, 75, 102, 173-7, 179- 
80, 182-3, 184. 185-7, 202-4, 206, 
212, 226, 238-9, 259 
Sepia (Sepia), 106, 127, 163, 171, 
I 210, 226-7 

Serum, 107, 112-4, 116 
I Servetus. 147 
I Severn, elvers in the, 199 



Sex in embryos, determination of,198 

Sex in plants, 97-9, 101 

Sharks {Lamia, Zygaina), 162, 230, 

Sheep (Krios, Ois, Probaton), 115- 

6, 120, 123-4, 128, 132, 134-5, 

149, 155, 165-6, 178, 252, 253,258 
Shrew-mice {My gale), 257 
Shrimps {Kyjjhe), 169, 226 
Sicania, acid waters of, 55 
Sicily, 44, 55 
Sight, 21, 62, 179-80, 182, 184-5, 

186, 187 
Sinews, 107-10, 137, 176, 194, 202-3 
Sipylus, earthquake at, 59-60 
Skaros, 25, 129, 152, 162, 233, 

Skates or rays {Batos, Leiobatos), 

24, 129, 152, 193, 230-1 
Skin, 94, 107, 109, 110, 131, 132, 

134, 165, 185, 202, 203 
SJiolehes, 196, 199-200 
Skull, see Cranium and cranial bones 
Skylarks {Korydos), 248 
Smell, 21, 84, 151, 153, 179, 182, 187 
Snails {Kochlos, Kochlias), 106, 

127, 130, 163-4, 169, 217, 219, 

Snakes {Edits or Echidna, Hydros, 

Ophis), 24, 106, 108, 112, 121, 132, 

138, 151, 154-6, 161-2, 166-7, 

180-1, 188, 213, 239-40, 241, 258 
Snow, red, 60 

Solens {Solen), 186-7, 218-9 
Soul or vital principle, the, 10, 75, 

80-4, 95-6, 98-9, 100, 159 
Sound, 62, 77-8, 183, 184 
Sparrows {Stroutlios), 25, 135, 156, 

Species, A.'s views on, 211-2 
Spermatic arteries, 167 
Spiders {Arachnes), 199, 200, 215, 

221, 238 
Spinal cord, 143, 173, 177 
Sjnza, 246-7 

Spleen, the, 140, 143-6, 153, 155-8 
Sponges {Spongoi), 79, 83, 85-6, 

Spontaneous generation, 79-82, 94, 

Stagira, 7 

Star-fishes {Aster), 219, 220 
Star-gazers {Kallionymos) , 106, 156, 

233, 235 
Stars, the, 30-4, 64-5 
Steel, manufacture of, 49, 76-7 
Steganopodes, 214, 242-3 

Sternum, 111, 121, 122 
Sting-rays {Trygon), 193, 232 
Stomach of grey mullet, 158, 162 ; of 

Scarus, 162 ; of ruminants, 17, 

102, 117, 158, 159-60 
Strabo, 53, 60, 134, 151, 251 
Strack, 82 
Suet, 107, 111 
Suidas, 183 

Sun, the, 30-1, 34-7, 64, 65 
Sundevall, C. J., 17, 192, 240, 243, 

246, 255, 258-9 
Surf-fishes, 25 
Sutures, cranial, 119-20 
Swallows {Chelidon), 25, 135, 156, 

214, 245 
Swammerdam, 221 
Swans {KyJcnos), 106, 242 
Swifts {A2WUS, Kypsellos), 214, 245 
Swimming, 188, 190, 193 
Syennesis of Cyprus, 14, 136 
Syllburg, 191, 255 
Syllogism, 6 
Syndactylism, 126, 256 
Synovial fluid, 109 
Synthesis, 91 
Syria, 100-1, 213, 253, 256-7 

Tail of birds, 192-3, 242, 246 

Tanais, river, 48, 50 

Tartessus, river, 56 

Taste, 21, 179-81, 187 

Teal {Boshas), 243 

Teats 171—2 

Teeth', 127-31, 143, 160, 163, 164, 

208, 252, 259, 260-1 
Telson, 1G9, 171, 224 
Temperature, 26-7, 70, 71-4, 113,179 
Tempests, 44-5 
Tennent, Sir J. E., 190, 260 
Terns {Laros), 193, 242 
Terrestrial phenomena, 28-60 
Tethya, 84, 106, 127, 220, 222 
Tettix, 222-3 

Thackrah, C. T., 112, 115, 116 
Thebes, 132, 241 
Thelphusa fluviatilis, 225 
Theophrastus, 8, 47, 50, 100, 183, 

231, 243 
Thomas, 0., 185 
Thompson, D'A. W., 243 
Thornback skates {Batos, Batis), 

129, 230-1 
Thrushes {Kiclile, Kyanos, Ixobo- 

ros), 246 
Thunder, 28, 44-5 
Thunderbolts, 29, 45 




Tinece (Ses), 223 

Tits {Spizites, Oreinos, Aigithalos), 

177, 246 
Titze, N., 16-7 

Toads {Phryne), 106, 154, 157, 240-1 
Tongue, 21, 134, 180-2, 184, 210, 

247, 249 
Torona, 85, 219 
Torpedo {Narhe), 152, 230-2 
Tortoises, 102, 106, 112, 151, 157, 

165-8, 237-8 
Touch, 21, 84, 179, 180, 187 
Tournefort, 85 

Transmutation of elements, 50, 91 
Transolfacient, the, 183 
Trans-sonant, the, 183 
Trees and shrubs mentioned by A., 

Trigle, 162, 233 

Tring reservoirs, grebes on, 243 
Turner, W., Dean of Wells, 243 
Tusks, 128-9 
Tyrian dye, 217-8 

Umbrians, the, 76 

Undulatory theory of light, 5, 62-3 

Unicorn, 254, 255 

Universities, study of A.'s works at 

the, 1 
Urino-genital organs, 104, 110, 122, 

125-6, 145, 146, 164-72, 195, 198, 


Valenciennes, A., 14-5, 162, 184, 

201, 233, 235-6 
Venie cavte, 109-11, 113, 141-2, 144, 

145, 146-7 
Vertebra, 25, 102, 111, 121, 142, 177 
Vesalius, 147 
Vipers {Echidna, Echis), 151, 239- 

Virgil, 186, 243 
Vitelline blood-vessels, 205-6 
Viviparous fishes, 24-5, 228-32 
Vivisection, 102 
Void, separate, 26-7 
Volcanic eruptions, 28, 59-60, 263 

Wallace, A. R., 237 

Wasps (Sphex), 193, 199, 200, 221, 

Water newts {Kordijlos), 136, 234, 

Watson, Dr. M., 107 

Wax 72 99 

Weasels '(/A-its), 108, 126, 127, 257-9 

Weissmann, A., 197 

West Indies, 6 

Whales {Mystiketos), 251-2 
! Whelks {Keryx), 106, 163-4, 199,217 
i Whewell, 208-9 
[ Wiegmann, 191-2, 254 
I Wigeon (Boskas), 243 
j Wild ass {Hemionos, Onos agrios), 
I 213, 256-7 

Wild fig, 98 
' Willughby, F., 5 
I Wilson, Dr. W. J. E., 134 
i Wimmer, F., 137 

I Winds, 24, 28, 42, 43, 45, 51-4, 64-5 
I Winged snakes, 241 
I Wings, 122, 135, 142, 188-9, 206-7, 
210-11, 221, 241, 243, 245, 249 

Wolff, 197 

Wolves (Lukos), 25, 102, 121, 126, 

Woodpeckers {Dryokolaptes), 247 

Wood pigeons {Phassa or Phatta), 
160, 244 

Woodward, C, 134, 155 

Worcestershire, popular belief in, 

Wryneck {lynx), 181, 247 

Xanthus, river, 135 
Xenophon, 254 
Xipliias, 152, 156, 233 

Yarrell, W., 232 
Yolk sac, 205, 206-7 

Zeller, 32 

Zervos, G. C, 86, 186, 245, 258 
Zoolog}', established by A., 5 
Zygaina, 230, 233 


Page 11, line 35, read for avawvo»5?. 
,, 14, line 30, read Diogenes for Dionysius. 
,, 46, lines 31-2, read latter . . . former for former 
,, 122, line 4, read centra for centre. 
,, 157, line 19, read scops for Scops'. 
,, 225, line 39, read 240-2 for 240. 

. latter. 

atw Jjue 



Mr ' < 1U 





9 200: t 



i) % /no^ 


FEB I'^noDT 


•Jbiui) burtMu Oat. no. 1137 


fe/--°92 00158 9394 

Aristotle s researches